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).
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.