Alright so here we are. Game day! And it’s a brand new series. The Rangers made it through the Habs and are on to their Canadian neighbors in Ottawa. I have to say I’m very happy that we at least have made it this far, because I know of a few Rangers fans that were doubting we were even going to make it out of the first round. It was a rough series from the Canadiens, but don’t think that Ottawa made it out unscathed either. They put up a some big games against Boston, and a few of those games were absolute thrillers.
But it’s a whole new day! So lets dive in a little bit into this next series and what to hopefully expect.
First and foremost, I think the Rangers have every advantage in this series. Offensively, Defensively, and especially goal-tending. And that’s what scares me the most. Because when we’re the favorites, we fuck everything up. And I don’t care what the “pros” say, we are the absolute favorites going into this series. You want to know how I know? Because Las Vegas, betting capital of the world, has the Rangers as favorites in this game ON THE ROAD. Tell me how that makes sense? It doesn’t. Makes literally no sense. I’ve written about 10 different sentences to try to figure it out and I can’t, so I’m just going to stop and move on.
On the offensive side, we have a much deeper 4 lines then the Sens do. Top to bottom. Plus it looks like Pyatt is a game time decision for the Senators with an Upper Body Injury. I will be interested to see how Brassard plays against his old team, as well as Mika. Definitely something to look out for in this series. But realistically we have the advantage here with speed and skill. The right guys are getting hot at the right time, and I fully expect that to continue into this series and hopefully beyond, because if we do make it past the Senators, boy we better be firing on all cylinders. I’m expecting big things out of our Top 6. If they’re playing well we should see this series moving favorably in our direction.
Shockingly, we might actually have an advantage on the defensive side of the puck too. Which is incredible when you have the Three Stooges of hockey on your blue line in Girardi, Staal, and Klein. But McDonagh has been playing with a vengeance; Skeji is looking like Mac Truck 2.0 and Brendan Smith actually looks competent out there. Now I’d love to Clendening get some ice time, but I think that it won’t happen and AV is going to stick to what he knows and likes, even when it inevitably blows up in our face. Karlsson on the Sens side has been playing with fractured heels, so I don’t really understand how he can still skate. But maybe if we can keep him off of his game we will be in a solid position because he is scary when he is on.
And then of course there’s Hank. He’s an absolute brick wall right now. This team goes as he does, and frankly I don’t see much getting by him tonight, or in the first few games. He is posting ridiculous numbers and I think the few extra days of rest here will be a great thing for him moving forward. On the other side Craig Anderson is nothing to laugh at either. He beat the Bruins and had a couple of shutouts as well while doing it. So i expect this to be even between the pipes, but with the Rangers forwards being a little bit stronger I’d expect to see a few more squeak by Anderson than Lunquvist.
I keep hearing about how the Rangers are going to have to deal with this “pesky” 1-3-1 neutral zone trap that Ottawa plays in and I don’t get it. This is how I feel about it…….
Yea its different, yea not a lot of teams play with it, but it’s not revolutionary. It’s not like this is the first time a team has used this Neutral Zone trap before. It’s pretty standard actually. And again the Rangers have the speed and skill to skate through it. But we’ll find out tonight how it goes. Looking at the series as a whole. I’d like to say realistically: Rangers in 6.
The optimist in me hopes for a 4 or 5 game series to try to give these guys some rest before moving on to play Washington or Pittsburgh, but I think 6 is where we will end up. So it begins! We’re a the old’ ScotiaBank Place tonight for Game 1 and I can not be more excited for puck drop!!!
Over/Under: 5 (+100)
Moneyline: Rangers (-110)
Spread: Rangers -1.5 (+265)