Mar 04, 2011; Ottawa, ON, Canada; Ottawa Senators right wing Chris Neil (25) tries to score against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) as center Brian Boyle (22) and defensman Matt Gilroy (97) move in during the third period at ScotiaBank Place. The Rangers won over the Senators 4 to 1. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-US PRESSWIRE

Five Questions With An Ottawa Senators Writer

One of the greatest aspects of the NHL playoffs is how rivalries, even if only temporary, can be built in a matter of minutes. Chris Neil aside, there is absolutely nobody on the Senators who irks me in the least and the team as a whole means nothing to the Rangers. But all it will take is one game – no – one scrum in front of Henrik Lundqvist for Rangers fans to feel disdain for the Ottawa Senators. Because at least until April 18th the Senators are the only thing on the minds of Rangers players, coaches, and fans. They are the only thing currently standing in the way of success.

So that being the case, it makes sense for us to get a feel for the Ottawa Senators and what is going on from the other side of the pond. I spoke with Senshot editor Jared Crozier and got his answers to five of my questions regarding the Ottawa Senators. Keep reading to see our discussion.

Adam: Rangers fans (and even Tortorella himself) are having somewhat of a difficult time assessing our standing in the league since the rise to the #1 seed was somewhat unexpected. From Ottawa’s perspective, do your fans feel that the Rangers are as difficult of an opponent as the #1 seeds implies?

Jared:  There is no doubt that the Rangers have earned the #1 seed based on Regular season play.  However, many Sens fans (myself included) wanted to avoid the Bruins in the first round, based on a team vs team matchup.  The Senators seem to play better against the Rangers for whatever reason, so there is a little more optimism going into round 1 than if they had stayed in the #7 seed.

Adam: This hasn’t exactly been Craig Anderson’s best season statistically and Ben Bishop is an intriguing goaltender with moderate success in his time with the Senators. How much room for error does Anderson have going into the series before Bishop gets a chance? 

Jared: This playoff is Anderson’s to win or lose.  He is pretty rested from his late-season injury, and the ball will be his to carry.  If Bishop sees action then the Sens are in trouble. Anderson was very streaky, and after getting off to a terrible start had very good stretches.  Stats don’t lie, but in this case I think they are somewhat misleading.

Adam: John Tortorella and the Rangers have prided themselves in being a deep team with four contributing lines and six capable defensemen. Do you feel that the Senators are going to need exceptional performances from Spezza and Karlsson and whoever is in goal or do you feel that your lineup as a whole can play well enough?

Jared: I think you know what you are going to get from Spezza and Karlsson, and the key is going to be the secondary scoring, especially Kyle Turris.  In an handful of games this season Turris has looked like a legitimate 2nd line centre, but those games were few and too far between for my liking.  If he can’t take the focus off Spezza, then it will be a difficult task to beat the Rangers.

Adam:If you had to pick one specific thing that concerns you most about playing against the Rangers in this series what would it be?
Jared: I think the Senators matchup well against the Rangers skater for skater. The big concern is how to solve King Henrik.  Lundqvist is an elite goalie (and likely Vezina winner) and can carry a series on his own.  However, he hasn’t been able to do that of late, and he has a career record below .500 against the Senators.  Overall that is the big advantage the Rangers could have over the Senators. 
Adam: Daniel Alfredsson is 39 years old and acknowledged that this could very well be his last playoffs appearance. What is the feeling in Ottawa about Alfredsson’s future and the likelihood of him ending his NHL career when the season is over? Jared: I think that particular statement was blown out of proportion (or misinterpreted) by the media.  They left out (or minimized) the part of his statement about the playoffs not being guaranteed next year.  Alfredsson had a bounce-back season after surgery, and with a couple of top-level Swedish prospects likely set to join the team next season (Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg) he will be back for another season to mentor those guys along.

Thanks to Jared for taking the time to answer my questions. Make sure to head over to Senshot for my answers to his questions.

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