Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stanley Cup Preview: Senators vs. Rangers*

It's surprising to see both these teams where they are. They key players on the Rangers are all having great seasons. And the Senators are back in the playoffs much earlier than anyone could have predicted.

Both teams, however, ended the regular season on losing notes. The Rangers lost the President's Trophy to Vancouver, and the Senators fell from 7th to 8th place.

Special teams are normally a factor in the playoffs, but the Rangers' weak Power Play (23rd in the NHL) won't be able to take advantage of Ottawa's mediocre PK unit. Meanwhile, the Rangers' outstanding PK (5th best) should be able to quiet Ottawa's solid Power play (11th best). This series will be determined 5-on-5.

Henrik Lundqvist is one of the best goalies in the NHL. He struggled against Ottawa this season (9 goals in 3 games), but in the past he's always been able to shut down the Senators.

Ottawa has some weapons, and they'll win a few games in this series to make it interesting. But they're too young at key spots, they make too many small mistakes that become breakaway opportunities (which the Rangers are excellent in converting), and the Rangers are just a little bit deeper than they are.

Rangers in 7.

Series schedule:
1: Thursday 4/12 - 7:00pm - OTT @ NYR - NHL Network
2: Saturday 4/14 - 7:00pm - OTT @ NYR - NBC Sports
3: Monday 4/16 - 7:30pm - NYR @ OTT - CNBC
4: Wednesday 4/18 - 7:30pm - NYR @ OTT - CNBC
5: Saturday 4/21 - 7:00pm - OTT @ NYR - NBC Sports
6: Monday 4/23 - tba - NYR @ OTT - tba
7: Thursday 4/26 - tba - OTT @ NYR - tba

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