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.