Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rangers vs. Capitals Preview

The Rangers survived a seven game battle with the Ottawa Senators. The Capitals also survived a battle and upended the defending Stanley Cup Champions in OT. Who has the edge in this series? It sure is a tough call.

New York must feel like it woke from a nightmare just in time. A huge second period push in Game 6 allowed the Rangers to win in Ottawa, and then in a tight Game 7 Lundqvist was solid and the Rangers survived. I am biased here; I think pressure-tested teams often go on to have success. However, the critic in me wonders where is the dominant Ranger team from the regular season? New York is a balanced team with a very good defense and all-world goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers will likely not dominant the Caps, and will need to hold their composure in close games. Lundqvist gives the Rangers tons of confidence and I expect him to continue to frustrate the opposition.

Washington came up big time. How happy are the fans in DC? After several years of being considered playoff underachievers Ovechkin and gang pulled off a big upset. Braden Holtby was huge for the Caps to say the least. If the Caps are to pull another upset they will need Holtby to continue to play like a playoff veteran and not like a rookie. Furthermore, the Capitals must continue to play physical, desperate hockey that earned them the victory over Boston. There can be no letdown against the Rangers. Winning either Game 1 or 2 will be crucial to a second consecutive upset.

In the end Holtby must win the goaltending match up against Lundqvist. If the Caps can get leads and shut down the Rangers attack they have a chance to frustrate NY. If, however, the Rangers are able to mount a consistent attack on the Caps defense

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