I gotta tell you. I’m A-OK with the Rangers not having to play the Washington Capitals in the first round. To me, that may have been the worst draw for us out of all our options. I just don’t feel we match up at all against that team. The Rangers do not do well against team with big time offensive powerhouses. They don’t do well against the Pens, they don’t do well against the Caps, they don’t do well against the Lightning. Why? Because we don’t have the talent to go toe to toe with those kinds of team. Period.
What the Rangers do well, is play against balanced teams, like the Ottawa Senators. Teams with several weapons interspersed in the lineup, but no real monster player that is impossible to shut down. Jason Spezza is a damn good player. He’s no Alex Ovechkin (despite what the points may say). Michael, Alfredsson, Karlsson, those are good players, but they don’t scare me the way AO and Backstrom scare me. Not at all.
Do the Rangers have a great record against the Sens? No. But, of their 3 losses, 1 was in a shootout, and 1 was with Biron in net. The 3rd the Rangers actually outplayed the Sens, but Anderson stood on his head and stole them a win.
Is it possible the Sens could beat us? Sure, but to me, it’s less likely than the Caps beating us. The Rangers can, and should be the Senators, who are not playing very good hockey at the moment. Starting at home will help a ton.
With regards to this game tonight, I don’t really think the Rangers played all that badly. They got some good chances, but couldn’t score. Gabby himself had how many point blank chances where he didn’t convert? And it seemed like everything the Caps threw at the net somehow found it’s way in. Screens, deflections, etc. They didn’t have a ton of super high quality chances, but they made their chances count.
Yes, on one hand I am saying the Rangers played well enough to win, and on the other I’m saying I don’t want the Caps. But that makes my point, the Caps are a team that is most definitely good enough to win, even when they are outplayed. THAT is what scares me about them. Only 2 teams in the East that scare me are the Caps and the Pens, and we don’t have to face either of them in the first round, and it’s highly unlikely we would face either of them in the 2nd round either.