Every playoff matchup will receive a once-over prior to puck drop this week, including Bourne’s prediction, explanation and final thought on each. He does not hate your team. He does not love your team. He is just talking hockey.

First off, we should probably address the picture above - isn’t the crossed sticks and puck the exact logo of every minor hockey organization all over North America? Crazy.

This might as well say “Westside Minor Hockey” on it (where I grew up).

Yep, there it is:

Okay, on to the series!

#1 New York Rangers vs. #8 Ottawa Senators

Season matchup: Ottawa came out ahead, 3-1-0

Who wins the series: The Rangers

How many games: 5

Please do explain:

The Ottawa Senators have had the Rangers number this season (as you can see from their record above), but it won’t matter.

The Sens struggled down the stretch, going 4-6 in their last ten, including three straight losses to end the season. While they did recently get Craig Anderson back from injury (which avoids them having to lean on Ben Bishop in playoffs), I don’t think he’s the type of guy to steal a playoff series from a better team and take them on a long run.

If the Rangers find ways to score goals, look out. They finished 3rd in the NHL in goals allowed per game (2.22), which is in vast contrast to the Senators, who finished 24th at 2.88, between Edmonton and Carolina.

The Rangers can play any number of ways (grindy, wheel and deal, etc.), while the Senators are overly dependant on their 4th place offense to bail them out. And, when “score a lot of goals” is your plan and Henrik Lundqvist is in the pipes for the other team, you could be in a bit of a pickle.

What I’m excited to find out:

Just how physical this series gets.

Mike Rupp, Chris Neil, Brandon Prust, Zenon Konopka, Brian Boyle, Nick Foligno, Stu Bickel…. this series has the potential to go off like a box of fireworks on a lit barbecue if something borderline happens (or the score of a game gets out of hand).

Final thought:

For Ottawa to win this series, I think they’ll need a little luck – whether that’s an injury to one of the Rangers’ stars (Gaborik, Richards, Girardi, Lundqvist), or just a few nicely timed fortuitous bounces, they’re gonna need some help to get through a tough Rangers team.

Comments (10)

  1. Has Pizzo been watching any Sens games? Goaltending ain’t a problem. Anderson is fine. Only way Bishop gets in is if Andy is hurt.

    Rangers should win, but i’ll be surprised if the Sens don’t get 3 home games out of this.

    Bang on re: the Sens reliance on their offense. To have any chance at an upset they either need some bounces or Hank to come down a level.

    • “To have any chance at an upset they either need some bounces or Hank to come down a level.”

      Here are Lundqvist’s numbers down the stretch:

      March
      13 Games Started
      8-4-1
      .897 Save %
      2.50 GAA

      April
      3 Games Started
      1-2-0
      .885 Save %
      3.02 GAA

      In fact, month-by-month here are his stats:

      OCT: 8 Starts, 2-3-3, .929 SV%, 2.35 GAA
      NOV: 9 Starts, 8-1-0, .937 SV%, 1.88 GAA
      DEC: 10 Starts, 6-3-1, .944 SV%, 1.60 GAA
      JAN: 9 Starts, 6-3-0, .939 SV%, 1.75 GAA
      FEB: 10 Starts, 8-2-0, .951 SV%, 1.29 GAA
      MAR: 13 Starts, 8-4-1, .897 SV%, 2.50 GAA
      APR: 3 Starts, 1-2-0, .885 SV%, 3.02 GAA

      I’m not sure what happened in March and April but it certainly seems that the mighty have fallen.

      • Interesting. Hope that continues :)

        Anderson was looking good pre-injury and was 0.925 after he came back. Still lets in the odd softie though.

        Should be a lot closer than many think, but i’d be very surprised if the Rangers didn’t win this.

      • What happened in March and April is Hank and the Rangers stopped playing for the Vezina/President’s trophy and started somewhat “resting” for the playoffs. Look for the February Lundqvist/Rangers in this series, not the team just trying to stay healthy while going up against teams on the brink the last few weeks of the season.

        • No team stops playing in March…. come on man, that’s ridiculous. Unless you’re the Leafs?

          Pizzo saying that Bishop will see the net in this series only means he has not watched Anderson and Bishop in net this year.

        • This is the most absurd thing I’ve ever read. If John Tortorella wasn’t the coach of the team, then maybe, just maybe I might buy this. However there is no chance in a million billion years that Tortorella told his guys to play at a less than elite level so that they could coast into the playoffs and be rested for the post-season.

    • This has ben the Dream season for the Senators. Absolutely everything has gone right for them, including playing the Rangers who the Sens have a winning Record against. The Sens also step up and beat the big teams, other than Boston through out the year.,
      They underestimated them the whole season

      Sens will surprise in 6.

  2. Why are people saying “Pizzo” when JTB wrote this? I am behind on my BHS podcast listening so maybe that is where the answer lies.

    I actually think this could be a closer series than most think. I think Paul MacLean is a damn good coach and could tip the scale in Ottawa’s favour.

    Since I am all about speculating: What happens if the Rangers recall Wade Redden for this series and he’s on a combination of crack and steroids?

    • There was an edit after my orig. comment went up

      • Original copy referenced Pizzo’s comments in a podcast re: messy Ottawa goal-tending lately and that Bishop was all but sure to get in the net at some point.

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