Sorry for the delay in getting this up. I’ve been having internet issues and finally just decided to write this thing on my phone. You can imagine there may be typos in this, and I won’t be able to format it all nicely like usual so please bear with me.
Edge here has to go to the senators. The rangers do have a top goal scorer in gabby, but the sens easily match that with a top five point getter in spezza. They also have karlsson, michalek, and alfredsson, which the rangers can only match up with richards and callahan. The senators are a more explosive team, they play a more up tempo system and have given us fits all year long. They have an uncanny ability to get the rangers to open up. They make us want to trade chances with them and that is how they massacre teams. They outscored the Rangers by 29 goals in the season, giving them the 4th ranked offense in the entire NHL to the Rangers 11th. The rangers need to concede that the sens are better than us offensively. We need to get our goals when they come, but mostly wear them out with a physical pounding their grandchildren will feel.
Rangers get the big time edge here. Not only are the rangers defenseman significantly better, more mobile, stronger, and more intelligent, but the Rangers forwards also are worlds better defensively than the Senators forwards. The Rangers are built to win 2-1 games, not 6-5 games. The Rangers allowed 65 fewer goals than the Senators did this season, giving them the 3rd ranked defense in the NHL to Ottawas 24th. This is what should put the Rangers over the top. Their ability to dictate how the game is played in the defensive zone. Give the Senators NOTHING, don’t go outside their comfort zone. Play strong in their own zone, block a ton of shots, and win the war of attrition.
Another big time edge for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist was ranked 3rd in the NHL in wins (Anderson was 11th), 4th in Goals Against Average (Anderson was ranked 43rd removing goalies with fewer than 17 starts). Lundqvist was 3rd in save percentage (Anderson was 26th), and Henrik was 3rd in shutouts (Anderson tied for 24th). Quite simply, Henrik Lundqvist outclasses Anderson by a significant margin. However, the X-Factor here is that Anderson is a guy who has played VERY well against the Rangers, and Lundqvist has not played all that well against the Senators since the lockout. This may be a similar case to the Washington series a few years back when Varlamov outplayed Lundqvist despite Lundqvist having overwhelmingly better numbers than Varlamov.
This is Henriks year to shine, I have a feeling he’s going to come up big this series. I think the guy knows just how important this year is because the Rangers do have a legitimate chance to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Another big time edge to Torts. The guy has won a Stanley Cup, in all likelyhood will be a finalist for the Adams trophy if he doesn’t win it outright, and has taken a team that was almost universally picked by the fans to the pundits to finish in the 4-10 range this season to the top spot in the Eastern Conference despite the Rangers playing in what may be the toughest division in all of sports. Torts is a master at getting the most out of his players, I expect nothing else.
Will Chris Kreider get to play? Who knows. Will he lead the team in scoring or something insane like that? No. However, you could see the kid come in and contribute at a .3PPG pace, he’s definitely good enough to do that. His speed is gamebreaking, and his offensive talents are undeniable. Will he get into the game? who knows. Carl Hagelin though may be a huge key to the Rangers. He has not played well as of late, his 2 linemates have had to carry him on the ice. Is he fatigued? Has the NHL figured him out? Personally I think it’s more of the former. He doesn’t have that jump in his game, he doesn’t seem to be as tenacious as before, and it’s hurt both him, and his line. If Hagelin can get his game back, and I think he will, he could be the guy to watch this series.
I want to pick the Rangers in 5, but to be safe, I’m going to say the Rangers in 6. I know the Sens have great numbers against us, I know this is a young team, blah blah blah, but the long and the short of it is this. The Rangers are better than the Senators. We are built to win playoff games. Don’t be surprised if Ottawa takes 1 of the first 2 first games, and then the Rangers steamroll from then on. Remember, it’s a series not a 1 game playoff.