Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

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    Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by wprager on Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:14 am

    Lots of stuff here:
    https://www.nhl.com/stanley-cup-playoffs/2017/senators-vs-rangers-series-i

    It's easy to say that the Senators were lucky that the Bruins lost 3 of their regular D (4 for a while) and also their second best center and prior playoffs leader, Krejci. With all those injuries they still managed to stretch it out to 6 games, losing three of them in overtime. Add to that the five (?) puck over glass penalties, a couple too-many-men and some favorable (to the Sens) refereeing, and you may get the idea that this was a smoke-and-mirrors series win, and we are about to get swept by the much stronger Rangers team.

    But not so fast. Despite what happened to Boston on the injury front, they still managed to dress 20 players for each game and many of the ones that did were seasoned veterans of plenty of playoff success, including winning the Cup. Despite the fact that Rask did not play a single minute in their Cup win, he entered the series with 47 playoff starts and 28 wins; Anderson has 16 playoff wins -- that's counting the 4 this year. You go up and down the lineups and you'd see that the Bruins had a significant edge in playoff experience, and I believe that is the major reason that this series did not end in 4 games.

    With the Rangers we will see yet another team with much more playoff experience than the Senators, but I think this will matter a lot less, with everything that has happened in the Boston series. The Senators are not (yet) a seasoned playoff team, but they have just as much recent experience as the team they face.

    One thing I noticed while watching other series is the significant difference in speed. The Senators have some very fast skaters but are probably middle-of-the-pack when it comes to overall team speed; the Bruins aren't even there (although the rookies in the lineup changed that profile quite a bit). Both teams like to slow it down. Maybe that's why the speed disparity seemed so glaring. Another thing I noticed in the *other* series is the free-wheeling center ice play and poor gap control from the defensemen (mostly in the Caps-Leafs games). Although I will argue with anyone calling it 1-3-1, it's fair to say that a large component of The System is to control neutral ice play, which significantly slows the "rate-of-speed" with which the forward enters the offensive zone, which also allows the defense to more-effectively close the gap. On the Bruins side, because they were missing so many of their regular defensemen the forwards did a lot more work in the neutral ice as well; it may not have been their "system" in the regular season, but they did as much neutral ice trapping as the Senators. All of this contributed to the slower pace we all observed.

    All this to say that I don't think the Rangers will run right over the slow Senators.

    One big difference between the Bruins and Rangers is the forward depth. The Bruins had arguably the league's best line, and the Senators expended considerable effort to try and shut them down. Ironically, Ottawa lost 2 of the 3 home games where Boucher could control the match ups (getting Pageau/Smith out against Bergeron/Marchand), yet they swept the games in Boston. Could it be that our third pairing is actually better than our 2nd pairing? Weird. Whatever the reason, because the Rangers roll four middle-of-the-pack lines, line and pairing matching will play a less important role, and that should benefit the Senators.

    In the series preview (see link above) this was one of the more glaring lines:

    Zibanejad ... scored the overtime winner against the Canadiens in Game 5 and led the Rangers with four points in the series.

    Four points in the series (2+2) was enough to lead the team. The top scorers for Boston were Pastrnak and Bergeron, each with the same 2+2; additionally Backes and Marchand also had 4 points (1+3). Yet the Rangers, who played the same 6 games, had just one player with 4 points. How did they advance??? Oh, yeah, Pacioretty+Galchenyuk=0 goals, Plekanec=-4. Both the Rangers and Candiens had trouble scoring, and it wasn't just because it was Price and Lundqvist.

    Speaking of which. If Lundqvist continues with a .970 SV% this series is over in 4-5. Anderson will have 1-2 games where he can match that level of play but we will absolutely need to make life a living hell for the him. Erik can apologize later.

    So many story lines, here. King Erik vs. King Henrik -- hockey royalty. Phaneuf and MacArthur past round one for the first time in their careers. MacArthur continuing to amaze with this most unexpected comeback. Brassard-Zibanejad, of course. Anderson v. Kreider (that high-ankle sprain courtesy of Kreider a few years back is why Andy don't do wraparounds).

    The last time the two teams met in the post-season was 5 years ago, with the Rangers winning in 7. This was the year of the Pesky Sens who, as the 8 seed, won game 5 in New York to go back home with a 3-2 series lead and a chance to complete the upset at home. Then, with a 1-0 lead on a 1st period goal by Neil they gave up two powerplay goals in a little over 2 minutes as the Rangers scored 3 in the second to take the lead; a Spezza goal late in the third made the score made it close, but no cigar.

    But that's ancient history, and you know how Boucher feels about history.

    More recently, the Sens won the regular season series 2-1. Andy -- who is 7-1-1 with 3 shutouts at MSG -- shut Raanta and the Rangers out 2-0 in game 1, then Rangers beat Condon 4-3 -- another game at MSG, then the Senators clinched 2nd in the Division with a 3-1 home win in game 3 (Sens had a 3-0 lead before Zibanejad spoiled it with a nothing goal in the last minute).

    So, Andy is really good at MSG, it's one of those places he loves to play. Andy is 2-0 against the Rangers this year. Lundqvist is 0-1.


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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by wprager on Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:01 am

    Good review/preview from DFC:
    DefenceWinsChampionships wrote:
    wprager wrote:Just 2 Canadian teams left.

    Here's a decent preview of the Sens-Rangers:
    https://www.nhl.com/news/new-york-rangers-ottawa-senators-series-preview/c-289056220

    Something to keep in mind. Ottawa lost 2 of their 3 home games and swept the 3 games in Boston. So much for match ups. Maybe it's Guy's insistence to pretend that Phaneuf-Ceci is a 2nd pairing. Or maybe Cassidy was plain out coached. Or maybe we got lucky with the parade of penalties. Who knows.

    Rangers roll 4 lines but they don't have a dominant top line like the Bruins.

    Ottawa/Boston series:

    5/6 games were OT games. All six were one-goal games. Boston was missing a key top six forward (Krejci) and 3 of their 4 top d-men (Krug, Miller, McQuaid) and relied heavily on 40 year old Big Z. Ottawa missed some huge chances to bury the Bruins whether blowing PP chances, hitting the post, missing the net, or getting robbed by Rask and no lead was safe in the series. The Sens power play hovered around 15% but came through when needed. Boston's top line (Bergeron, Marchand, Pastrnak combined for 50% of Boston's team offense - 5 of 10 goals). Ottawa was 1-2 at home, 3-0 on the road.

    Montreal/New York series:

    Typical Montreal. All hype, no finish. Carey Price played well, but not well enough to win a series that Lundqvist stole. Habs had no secondary scoring and were limited to 11 goals. Rangers had (one of?) the best road records in the regular season and carried that into the Bell Center going 2-1 in round 1, led by heroic former Ottawa Senator Mika Zibanegod and fellow countryman Mats Zuccarello. 8 different goal scorers for NYR in round 1 including 3 from Zuccarello and 2 from Grabner, Nash, Fast and Skjei. No top line in New York.

    Ottawa Keys to Victory:
    - Stay out of the penalty box
    - Convert on scoring chances
    - Control tempo of the game
    - Take care of the front of the net
    - Depth scoring needed
    - Match Rangers intensity


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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by wprager on Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:04 am

    On thing going for us in round one was the advantage behind the bench. Two coaches with NHL head-coaching experience including playoffs, and a Cup Winner in Marc Crawford. "Butch" Cassidy was a rookie head coach with less than a half season's worth of regular season games under his belt.

    I think we still have the advantage in coaching depth, but it's nowhere near like it was against Boston. On the other hand, the coaching staff now knows who can do what (in playoffs) among this particular set of players.


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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by DefenceWinsChampionships on Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:30 am

    This is a head to head series. The winner will be the team with better goaltending, special teams, and scoring.

    This can go either way and I think will be a chippy series with a few goalies being run and a lot of big hits being thrown.

    I personally like the makeup of the Sens better and can see this being a much more open series than the Boston series, who played from the net out.

    Ottawa in 7 is my prediction, but it could very well be Rangers in 5.
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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by Cap'n Clutch on Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:16 pm

    If the Sens can control the pace and slow down the speed of the Rangers then I think the Sens can take it in 6. The Rangers had trouble scoring all series long vs. the Habs and that series seemed more wide open. The Sens need to snuff out the Rangers attack speed.


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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by DefenceWinsChampionships on Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:12 pm

    Cap'n Clutch wrote:If the Sens can control the pace and slow down the speed of the Rangers then I think the Sens can take it in 6. The Rangers had trouble scoring all series long vs. the Habs and that series seemed more wide open. The Sens need to snuff out the Rangers attack speed.

    I didn't watch these games but Price > Anderson and NYR D and G > Boston D and G. So I see the advantage tilting in NYR favour here.
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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by tim1_2 on Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:52 pm

    The Sens seem to be able to keep games tight with any opponent, and I don't think it will be any different here. Hopefully Stone gets a little more jump back in his game with the time off, and away we go.
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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by wprager on Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:20 pm

    I *did* watch these games. Price was a little better, but in both cases (in fact all four goalies involved) their play improved from the first 3 games to the last 3. Of the four goalies, Anderson has the *best* career playoffs SV% (Rask is second). And the team is playing better, defensively (they kept the shots against at or under 30 in all but the double-overtime game).

    It's hard to say who has the better D. I know the Rangers blocked a lot more shots against the Habs than the Bruins did against the Senators, but when a team blocks that many shots it often means that they are giving up a lot of shot attempts, which means they are *not* playing that well, defensively. As Karlsson can tell you from that double OT loss, sometimes it's better to let your goalie take the shot because a blocked shot can end up on the wrong stick.

    Sens went 4-0 against the Bruins in the regular season, and 2-1 against the Rangers (Andy was 2-0, Lundqvist was 0-1). Rangers went 3-0 against the Bruins, with a couple lopsided scores (5-2, but one was against someone named McIntyre in goal).Hard to extrapolate anything from that other than why did the Sens not simply sweep?

    Could some of the Sens have been overwhelmed because of limited playoff experience? If so, having now won a series, will they be better equipped in round 2?


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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by DefenceWinsChampionships on Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:47 pm

    I think the two teams are as evenly match as they come. Both designed similarly from the net out. Both rely on depth, have agitators in their lineup, heavy hitters, speed, size. It should be a good series that will come down to discipline, coaching, and special teams.
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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by PTFlea on Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:52 pm

    Very even series, agreed.
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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by Flo The Action on Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:08 am

    Im not gonna lie, I'm not sure we win this one. I picked the sens in 7 games but it could easily be the rangers winning.
    Still, round 2, good experience for the guys!
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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by wprager on Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:49 am

    Keep in mind that Andy is 2-0 versus the Rangers and Lundquist is 0-1 versus the Sens this season. Andy loves playing at MSG. Sens walking wounded getting better. Haven't heard much of any Rangers injuries but that was a pretty heavy 6 games against the Habs so there have to be some soft spots in that lineup. One guy with 4 points leading your team in scoring has to be pretty alarming. They were seriously outplayed by Montreal; can Lundquist keep it up?


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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by wprager on Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:22 am

    Here's another preview:
    http://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/19228158/2017-stanley-cup-preview-ottawa-senators-vs-new-york-rangers

    However:

    Anderson's ability to play the puck is an advantage because the defensemen don't need to come back as deep into the zone to retrieve the puck, and it helps the transition game.

    -- Joe McDonald, ESPN staff writer


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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by PTFlea on Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:42 am

    This is gonna be heart attack inducing
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    Re: Sens - Rangers: Round Two Preview

    Post by Ev on Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:51 am

    I think this will be an easier series to be honest.

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