New York Rangers Vs. Ottawa Senators
Ottawa: 2-1-0 (NY Rangers: 1-2-0)
The New York Rangers are a wild-card team that just finished
beating the Atlantic Division leading Montreal Canadiens.
The Rangers play a very physical style of hockey, which contributed to pushing the underdogs past the Canadiens in 6 games. Just how physical were they? The Rangers finished the series with 285 hits, the second-most the team has recorded in a series since the NHL began tracking hits in the 1997-98 season.
On top of that, the one major criteria that can contribute to New Yorks success is
their level of depth. Where Mats Zuccarello and JT Miller head up the 3rd line and also are the teams top point-getters. Mix in the infamous Chris Kreider and veterans Michael Grabner and Rick Nash. You have a flurry of scorers mixed into every line. The only problem is will the well- rounded offence be able to penetrate Ottawa’s neutral zone.
While Ottawa is uniquely physical on their own, one dominant aspect of their game is their offensive players who can play fantastic defence. Able to create a near impenetrable barrier in the neutral zone, giving opponents very few precious moments with the puck. Which is why, most teams resort to the dump and chase method to try and beat that first line of offence.
Ottawa has plenty of skill throughout its lineups with forwards Mike Hoffman who had a team-leading 74 points, Bobby Ryan who had a team leading 27 goals, Kyle Turris and Derick Brassard. Not to mention the all-world defenceman Erik Karlsson who had 71 points and veteran Dion Phaneuf also putting up points from the blue-line. This is an offensive team, known for their unique ability to play defence.
If Ottawa wants to win they need consistency. They have a proven winning strategy that can topple the best offences and won them over 65% of their games against the top 5 teams in hitting.
So being physical alone wont be enough for the Rangers to surpass the Sens. The Rangers will need to rely heavily on veteran goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in the same way they did in their previous series against the Canadiens.
The Rangers offence seems to come and go as far as consistency, if this offence can break the Senators over-defensive strategy early on, the Senators may be scrambling pretty quickly.