Here we are folks, with just one game left in the season and the second spot in the Metropolitan Division clinched, the New York Rangers are sitting and waiting to find out who they are playing in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There are two possible match-ups for the Rangers and they are either the Columbus Blue Jackets or the Philadelphia Flyers. Today in the daily poll, which I will link you to at the end of this article, I asked you what team you would prefer the Rangers to play in round one. However now I’m going to explain to you why the Columbus Blue Jackets should be the team you want to face in round one.
Let’s first start off by talking about the many reasons you shouldn’t want the Rangers to face the Flyers. First and most importantly, it’s a rivalry, playoff rivalries are always intensified and if you’re not the Washington Capitals then the Rangers will probably struggle to play you in the playoffs. The Flyers are a very strong team upfront and has an offense that will continue to come at you until you inevitably fold like a long chair. Led by Claude Giroux who has 82 points on the season it’s a lethal combination of skill and speed, and while ordinarily the Rangers defense wouldn’t have a problem with the Flyers offense, Ryan McDonagh is injured and while he is going to be back for the playoffs I would not put it past the Flyers to attempt to target his shoulder cough cough Zac Rinaldo. The final reason you don’t want the Flyers in round one is because (assuming they get the first wild card spot) they would play the Pittsburgh Penguins in round one and the winner of that series would then play the winners of the Rangers – Blue Jackets and if anyone can beat Pittsburgh or at least tire them out it’s Philadelphia.
Now among all these reasons you should not want the Rangers to face the flyers in round one there reasons you should want to face the Blue Jackets. The Jackets are led in points by Ryan Johansen who currently has 60, but led emotionally by Brandon Dubinksy and Sergei Bobrovsky and those three will almost certainly be the players to watch in the playoffs. The problem with the Blue Jackets is that the team has only made the playoffs one time in the franchise’s history, and only three of the players currently on the roster were on that team. The lack of playoff experience in that locker room is concerning at the most and enthusiasm can only carry you into the playoffs, not through them. Also take note of the way Rick Nash played against Columbus this season, we saw Nash play harder and with more passion then we’ve ever seen from him before, playing Columbus in round one could give Nash the edge he needs to help carry this team through the entire playoff run. The other thing to take into consideration here is the vastly improved play of Martin St. Louis, especially with Nash and if those two are going to stay together then we’re going to see great things out of them and I don’t think Columbus’s defense nor Bobrovsky (not a knock on either of those) are capable of handling an inspired Nash and St. Louis together.
Anyway, that’s just my opinion and I’m more than happy to hear yours! Comment below or tweet @bluelinestation or @kennybelvin and let me know what you think! I’ll attach the poll below so you can vote!