Ok I’m a bit of a loser as I re-watched a chunk of the Rangers 2011 playoff series against the Caps. I stumbled upon all the recordings of the games when I was down in florida and I DVR’d a Boston College game to see Kreider play. I didn’t even know those old games were still on that tv, and the next day it rained so I re-watched portions of each game.
The difference between that and this current Rangers team is night and day. For one thing Rangers aren’t icing Wojtek Wolski and Erik Christensen anymore. Seriously that’s a huge step forward. There aren’t a ton of players on this team that shouldn’t be apart of the immediate future which is a very good thing. For the record, Wolski and Christensen belong with the Zherdev’s, Kotalik’s, Antropov’s, and Lisin’s of the world with their completely one-dimensional offensive game
Read more on the difference’s between that series and a potential upcoming series between these two teams.
Home Ice Advantage- Last year the Rangers were the 8th seed and the Capitals were the 1st seed. Isn’t it funny that now it would be the complete opposite. Personally I hate the Verizon Center and think it’s a very intimidating place to play between their siren goal horn, and the constant air horn that never stops. It’s just annoying to even watch on TV so I can’t imagine how annoying it is to play there. The less games there the better. Knowing you have a potential game 7 on home ice could make all the difference in a series like this. Never undervalue home ice.
Ryan Callahan- A lot of people forgot Callahan didn’t play last year in the playoffs and boy did the Rangers miss him. Heart and soul of the team, killing penalties, scoring some goals, blocking shots, the list goes on. He does it all. I don’t care if Chris Drury was back for the playoffs last year the Rangers were lead by Callahan the whole way throughout the season.
More Goal Scoring- The Rangers now boast a serious threat on their top line with Gaborik, Richards, and Hagelin. The Rangers last year didn’t really have a top line, and this year boast a new comer in Brad Richards, and a revitalized Marian Gaborik. Remember how terrible Gaborik was last season? This new Marian Gaborik is better than ever before. Ryan Callahan is also scoring the goals as well.
Better Defense- The Rangers have Michael Sauer out due to injury but their defense now is still better than last year. The Rangers had two huge liabilities in Bryan Mccabe and Matt Gilroy, and on their worst day Anton Stralman and Stu Bickel aren’t as bad. Factor in a new and improved Del Zotto, and the Rangers should be able to contain Ovechkin, Semin, and Backstrom a lot better.
Better Goaltending Than The Caps-We have Henrik Lundqvist. They have Michal Nuevirth and Braden Holtby. Do I need to explain the advantage the Rangers have?
Capitals Are Bleeding- The Capitals may get into the playoffs but they aren’t playing well by any stretch. Ovechkin isn’t the same and the team is playing porous defense and letting in too many goals. The Capitals use to dominate the Rangers by scoring too many goals and the rangers couldn’t play catch up. Now the Capitals aren’t scoring as much and their goaltending is shaky. That’s a bad combination.
I’m not going to make a prediction or say the Rangers will win, but this matchup is better than playing Buffalo. Personally, I’d rather play against bad goaltending and a good offense, rather than good goaltending and a bad offense. Ryan Miller is very capable of stealing a series, whereas the Caps are still trying to find their true number 1 goalie.
I want revenge on the Capitals. Be sure to follow me on twitter @Matt_J1.