If the Rangers play the same way, a trip to the Stanley Cup Final possible

Zuccarello scores 2 (Getty)

Whether it was by luck or design, the Rangers finishing in the 1st wild card spot might have been the break they needed this season. By taking the path of least resistance so to speak through the Atlantic, the Blueshirts could find themselves in the Stanley Cup Final.

Let’s Not Get Ahead of Ourselves

My opening paragraph was written with trepidation and a grain of salt. It’s obvious almost every expert analyst and fan felt this was the best route for the Rangers. Simply stay out of the brawl in the Metro.

Pittsburgh won their series in 5 simply because Bobrovsky was horrible allowing over 4 goals per game on average. Still, there was plenty of rough and physical play in that series also. The Pens are also without Letang and key players like Kunitz and Hagelin are nursing injuries.

The Caps shockingly struggled with the Leafs. In what many thought would be a sweep, wound up taking 6 games and several OT nail biters to win it. Both the Caps and Pens are allowing over 2.6 goals per game so this series should be a barn burner with plenty of rough stuff.

Facing the Senators

Zibanejad celebrates Fast’s score in first period. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The Rangers and Senators will look a little different than the last series. Ottawa can be real tough and stingy on defense, as they allowed 2.17 goals against Boston. Plus goaltender, Craig Anderson is one of the best stories in the NHL, taking time off to help his wife battle cancer. Not to mention, he sometimes plays like a brick wall against the Rangers.

With that said, this is still a very winnable series for the Blueshirts. Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 1.70 goals against average and should be the difference. Only Pekka Rinne of Nashville (0.70) and Jake Allen of St. Louis (1.60) have posted better this post season. The good news there if you’re thinking longterm, is that they both play each other in rd 2.

While we will see the Senators do more trapping to slow down the game in their favor, the Rangers showed enough smarts and resolve to change it up and use dump ins effectively. This should be yet another low scoring series but possibly with a little more breathing room then the last. If we are being honest, the Rangers are a deeper and more talented team and that should be enough to advance.

Can They Get To The Finals?

The answer is yes! If the Rangers can dispatch Ottawa with relative ease, say 5 games, they can rest their bodies and watch the Caps and Pens duke it out. The Capitals should be able to beat Pittsburgh but this could take 7 games and multiple OT’s to boot.

It is possible by simple luck of the draw and some injuries to their opponent, that could give the Rangers just enough of an advantage to beat a better team in the ECF. That goes for facing either Pittsburgh or Washington. If they can do that, the Rangers may even get home ice advantage in the Finals should either Nashville or St. Louis get there.

Regardless, almost any opponent would seem less daunting than either the Caps or Pens…but nonetheless still someone the Rangers would need to put maximum effort to beat.

One last thing, I can play around and think about the path to glory all day. I am not the one involved in the playoffs. The good news is that the Rangers are not looking ahead…they are taking it one game at a time and it could all add up to the grandest prize in sports.

7 comments

  • OMG not home ice!!

  • The Caps should dispatch the Pens? What?!?!? The Caps are 1-8 career the Pens in their history. They were eliminated last year with pretty much the same team. The Pens have a new crop of unheralded speedsters who reeked havoc against the Bluejackets while the Caps struggled mightily to oust a team of rookies.

    Ottawa has always been a thorn in the side of the Rangers whether at home or on the road, regular season or playoffs. However the Sens are between a rock and a hard spot in this series. If they want to try to copy what the Habs tried with the physical/rough stuff they do not have the size to put muscle the Rangers. If they want to play an uptempo style of play, they do not have to speed to run the Rangers off the ice. While Craig Anderson is a good goalie he is no Carey Price. Rangers should walk all over the Sens in this series to set up a rematch and potentially get revenge on the Pens.

    Also , where are all the naysayers who boasted how the Rangers wouldn’t show up in the playoffs? Where are all the Hank badgers who said he was done? And where are the AV critics who were saying only days ago that he has lost the locker room?

    • Each of the teams that can potentially play the Rangers have the ability and skill to beat them! Fortunately, the Rangers have the ability and skill to beat each of the teams that can potentially play them!! Lol
      The team that shows up and plays 110 % in more games in each series will win the series!
      Think about it!
      It’s all about DESIRE and WILL!!

    • I don’t get why so many fans don’t like AV. I’ve heard some real ridiculous comments about him. Listening to a pod cast the guy said you can always count on AV to do the wrong thing. Now even if you don’t like the guy how can someone say that. The guy has won a ton of games and came within one game of a cup. It’s funny those same fans say how bad the defense is but then blame AV for the loses. If he don’t have the players what’s he supposed to do. If the Rangers win they credit the players. But when they lose it’s AV’s fault. Every coach makes a wrong guess or bad move but I think he’s done a great job with this team. Rangers don’t have super stars like the Pens or an Ovi like the Caps but they still have played more playoff games than any other team in the past 4 years.

      • I couldn’t agree with you any more. The best 4 yr run in the 90 yr history of this franchise and most of these fans want him fired. Yet can’t name a replacement. Love how after game 3 there was nothing but AV HAS LOST THE LOCKER ROOM. And their source, a wannabe Hab groupie. Thank God for whiskey.

  • Another favorite of mine is when fans say AV blew the final against LA and we were the better team. There’s no way anyone went into that season even dreaming about a cup. We lost to a team that just won it two years earlier and was able to come back on us every time we had the lead. I guess AV shoulda played D himself those games.

    They say he hates the young kids. Just think how stupid that sounds to begin with. But besides that what we’re Vesey and Buchnevich doing on the top lines if he hates kids. They panic and cry if guy is a healthy scratch and go completely insane if a young kid sits out a few games but they seem to forget that JT went through it and even Kreider got sent back down for a little while. It’s amazing how much more those fans know then AV does.

    The bottom line is we’re a team with some good or even real good players but not one with super stars. Now if we had a Crosby, Malkin and Kessel on our team I’m sure we would be talking about trying to win our second straight cup too. But for a team with guys like we have I think we’ve done real old these past 4 years. As a matter of fact I still think if we didn’t have 4 of our top D men playing with broken bones in their feet and didn’t lose one of our best play makers (Zucc) miss the series, we would won it that year. Some fans just don’t know what to say other then a complaint. You know if we do win a cup with AV they’ll say it was cause the players were so great, but if we don’t it will always be AV’s fault.

    Sorry for the long story but I get pissed off at those so called die hard fans.

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