Friday, April 25, 2008

Rangers In Six

I’d love to go into some deep analysis about this Rangers-Penguins series, however, time is limited for me today, unfortunately. Anyway, I am counting down the seconds until the puck gets dropped tonight! Here’s what I think:

The Rangers are better in goal and I believe Henrik Lundqvist will up his game in this series to match the fast and furious offense of Pittsburgh. The Rangers defense is young, but the inseparable Fedor Tyutin and Dan Girardi have done well against Sidney Crosby. The Rangers blueline will have to exhibit good judgement in terms of when to jump into the play and when to stay back.

Up front, much will be made of Jaromir Jagr - in what could be his playoff swan song - taking on his old team where he will get booed every time he touches the puck. But there are two other former Penguins playing for the Blueshirts, Michael Rozsival and Martin Straka. The latter also may be in his final days of his NHL career, I expect him to score some big goals in this series.

The big key for New York will be minimizing penalties. During the regular season, the Rangers got in trouble when they took bad penalties. I also think that the third line of Chris Drury, Nigel Dawes and Ryan Callahan could prove to be the difference. Scott Gomez will be tough for the Pens to contain and if the Rangers’ third line could ever really start burying their chances, this could be Blueshirts all the way.

Still, the Pens have good veteran leadership in Gary Roberts and a solid defense with Hal Gill, Brooks Orpik and the supremely offensively-gifted, Sergei Gonchar.

The coaching nod goes to the Rangers, because Michel Terrien has the ability to lose a team. However, Tom Renney must not try to obsess about matchups. For the Rangers though, overcoming Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Petr Sykora, Jordan Staal, etc. will be extremely challenging. I like the Blueshirts depth and goaltending, however. Somebody, though, is going to have to get in the faces of Jarkko Ruutu and Hal Gill. Colton Orr anyone?

Rangers in six.

The other series, two of which have already started:
Montreal over Philly in seven.
Detroit over Colorado in six.
San Jose over Dallas in five.

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