The Rangers’ fate were in their own hands last night, and could have played either Washington or Ottawa. I’m not going to say they chose Ottawa, but they lost so now they are playing ottawa in the first round.
I think I would have selected Ottawa if given the choice. Yes the Rangers have struggled against Ottawa this year but that’s not to say they should not beat them in a 7 game series.
If you thought the Rangers were a team with very little playoff experience, then the Senators are infants to the playoffs with the exception of Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Neil, Sergei Gonchar, and Jason Spezza. The Senators are a very young team in general and that regard.
This is why making the playoffs last year was so important. It gives a chance for guys like Ryan Mcdonagh, Derek Stepan, Brandon Prust, Artem Anisimov, and Brian Boyle to get a taste of the playoffs. The only players that have never played a NHL playoff game are Michael Del Zotto, Stu Bickel, Carl Hagelin, John Mitchell, and Anton Stralman.
The Rangers also boast better goaltending with Henrik Lundqvist. That’s not to say Craig Anderson is a slouch, but he’s not consistent enough to be compared to Lundqvist. Anderson has times where he is very unbeatable, but also is known to let in a couple soft goals as well. I feel comfortable having Lundqvist in net for the Rangers.
The Senators have some top end goal scoring in Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson, and Milan Michalek. But that’s where it stops basically. The Senators have struggled this season to find bottom 6 goal scoring and that could hurt them come playoff time. In the playoffs you need everyone to be chipping in to score goals, and that could be where the Senators fall short.
Meanwhile the Rangers boast a much more rounded lineup. Even their bottom six guys like Brian Boyle and Brandon Dubinsky are starting to score now. Here’s a funny tidbit: the 2 out of the 3 times Ruslan Fedotenko has a scored a goal in a playoff year, his team has gone on to win the cup. Good things happen when Fedotenko scores goals.
There will definitely be more analysis coming up from bluelinestation so stay tuned and be sure to follow me on twitter @Matt_J1.