SpezDispenser wrote:The way I would look at this series personally is that it's a lot closer than it first appears by the standings.
You have the sniper on the Rangers, Gaborik, the Sens have a sniper in Michalek - now, granted Gaborik is a more dangerous player than Michalek, but it's comparable. Then you have Jason Spezza vs Brad Richards, which is close, but in the end the ball's in Spezza's court as he's proven to be more valuable this season.
Things get a little more interesting when you look at Dubinsky and Callahan on line 2 - but Foligno is a tough customer - he doesn't score as much as they do though...Alfie can hold his own against either player. Turris is quite talented, but even though he's had some success in the playoffs before, it'll be a challenge for him to fight through the checking and succeed.
Where it filters down to is the 3rd and 4th lines. I like Z.Smith, Daugavins, Condra, Winchester, Neil over Mitchell, Prust, Fedentenko - anything the Rangers throw at us.
Girardi/Staal are probably the top shutdown duo in the league, so we probably don't have an answer to that, but I think the Rangers are gonna get to know Jared Cowen really, really well. Phillips is also perfectly capable of playing a solid D, as is Gonchar - who appears to have a little fire lit under his arse. Karlsson is well ahead of Del Zotto, hopefully Carkner draws in and he can block some shots.
Anderson is perfectly capable of being solid in net for us, I realize it's Lundqvist and I realize that's he's a lot better, but in a 7 game series, he's gonna let in some goals - especially to us.
It'll come down to our special teams and being able to match and exceed them physically. Also, don't let anyone say that it's not the Rangers who have all the pressure. They have pressure galore, if they lose this, it'll be a massive upset - and people in NY will be pissed. If we lose, we lose. It was a great season and we did very well.
I could see a 7 game series coming here, not sure who'll win, it'll be close.
Were you listening to Potvin on SNet's playoff preview show?
Spezza/Michalek have 2 more points than Richards/Gaborik, having played 7 fewer games (5 missed by Michalek and 2 by Spezza). Plus if all other things were equal, I'd take the pair with the higher scoring center, as he is also distributing pucks to the second winger. Who was the other winger on Richards' line?
That second line is impossible to call. Foligno only has 10 playoff games and Turris just 4, but they are playing alongside Alfie, who's had a lot more post-season success than just being part of the CASH line in 2007. When did Dubinsky get his 22 games in? Wasn't he the #1 center then? Chances are he's not getting nearly the same ice time this year as he did before. And Callahan's numbers in the post-season are less than impressive.
I agree that we have the edge on the 3rd/4th lines, especially the Calder Cup guys who know what it takes to win in the post-season.
Shot blocking is a negative for us. Rangers are 7th in the league in number of blocked shots, while the Sens are 20th. They averaged 1.6 blocked shots per game more, and I'm pretty sure the stat is kind to the Sens as pucks deflected by sticks count as blocked shots in many cases. Bottom line, I don't see too many of the Senators willing to put their body in harm's way (like I saw Gilroy do, twice, in the last game). That used to be a big positive for the Sens, and now they are in the bottom third of the league.
Lundqvist certainly has the experience and reputation over Anderson, but he has never done all that well against the Senators. And he has never done all that well in the playoffs: http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/l/lundqhe01.html
He has a lifetime SV% of .909, which means that, usually, his stats get worse in the post-season. Odd. Could be the make of the team/coaching, as the Rangers are not known to be a strong playoff team (at least not since the Messier days). Maybe it's the team, maybe it's actually Lundqvist. Very odd, but that's that.
Anderson has only had one chance in the playoffs and he aced it, posting a .933 SV% in a 6-game loss to the Sharks. I don't think this edition of the Senators is any worse, defensively, than the 2009-10 Avalanche.