So it has been quite a while since I peeped a foe but what the hell, the playoffs are here so what better time to get back on the horse?
Game 1 - at MSG, 7 pm, on MSG Network or the NHL Network
Game 2 - at MSG, 7 pm, on MSG Network or the NHL Network
Game 3 - at Scotiabank, 7:30 pm, on MSG Network or CNBC
Game 4 - at Scotiabank, 7:30 pm, on MSG Network or CNBC
Game 5 - at MSG, 7 pm, on MSG Network or NBC Sports
Game 6 - at Scotiabank, TBD, on MSG Network
Game 7 - at MSG, TBD, on MSG Network
Where We Finished: The Rangers closed the regular season atop the Eastern Conference with a 51-24-7 record, despite losing three of four at the end. They fell two points short of the albatross that is the President's Trophy (*whew*).
Where They Finished: The Senators similarly stumbled to the finish. Ottawa lost their three final games to make the race for the final few playoff positions interesting. They closed with the same 92 points that Washington had but ceded seventh on the tiebreaker - regulation wins; they had one less than the Caps for a 41-31-10 record. For a good recap and report card of the Senators' regular season, take a look at Eye On The Sens.
What Happened In Playoffs Past: Wonderful Wikipedia tells us that in 1930 the "Senators faced off against the New York Rangers in a two-game total-goals series. In the last NHL playoff game in Ottawa until 1996, the Senators tied the Rangers 1–1 on March 28, 1930, but lost game two in New York 5–1 to lose the series 6 goals to 2."
What Happened This Season: The Rangers went 1-2-1 against the Sens. The first matchup proved to be the end of the stumble out of the gates for the Blueshirts. At the end of October they blew a 2-1 lead to lose 5-4 in a shootout to the Sens, the catalyst for a 7-0 Ranger run. The second meeting was within that run, a 3-2 victory. The remaining two games between the teams were both ugly. First there was a lifeless 3-0 loss in mid-January and a 4-1 atrocity last month.
Who To Watch For:
*Daniel Alfredsson is no stranger to his fellow Swede Henrik Lundqvist and, understandably, has 56 points in 57 career games against the Rangers.
*As he has matured Jason Spezza has raised his game to that of one of the NHL's elite centers has somehow done it for the Senators despite their trials and tribulations since the lockout. And, of course, Spezza has four goals and two assists in the four games vs. the Blueshirts this season.
*Erik Karlsson is a far, far better version of Del Zaster. Karlsson - a Norris candidate to be sure - has incredible offensive instincts and great wheels. He used to be horrid in his own end but has made strides in that area this season.
*Sniper Milan Michalek has four goals and one assist in four games against the Blueshirts this year.
*Nick Foligno might as well be a clone of his dad Mike the way he does all of the gritty little things.
*Chris Neil has proving that he not just a neanderthal, he had 13 goals this season - the second highest total of his 10 season career.
Tough Stuff: It is an arbitrary stat but the Rangers won the hit battle 129-105 this season. Matt Carkner, the man who's punch sent Boogaard on his death spiral, has just four fights this season but one of them was against our Stu Bickel when both were in the AHL. There were four fights during the four games between the two teams: Sean Avery fought out of his weight class against Zenon Konopka, Andre Deveaux soundly defeated Jared Cowan, Pruster battled Konopka and Zack Smith. Mike Rupp played in two of the four games and had seven minutes of ice time and two hits in each.
Random Stats and Stuff:
*While having a solid 2.05 gaa and .931 save %, Hank has a career record of 11-12-2 against Ottawa.
*In 2006-07 Erik Karlsson had 10 points in 10 games for the Södertälje junior team - his teammate and the leading scorer? Carl Hagelin. Bork!
*Brad Richard$ is -5 this season against the Sens, his worst +/- against any opponent; Marian Gabori is +3.
*Dan Girardi played more than 26 minutes in three of the four games.
*Sergei Gonchar played for the Penguins when they defeated the Rangers in the second round back in 2008; he had three assists in that five-game series.
*In 2007 I wanted to trade Scott Gomez for Jason Spezza.
*Erik Condra has eight goals this season but just one in his last 42 games.
*The Rangers have out-blocked the Senators 64-41 this season.
*Ottawa drafted Karlsson five spots before the Rangers took Del Zaster in 2008 and drafted Foligno seven picks after the Blueshirts took Bobby Sanguinetti in 2006. They also drafted Brian Lee - now on Tampa - three picks before the Rangers took Marc Staal in 2005.
*Due to Ottawa's poor attendance against American teams, the Sens moved a few home games to Atlantic City in '29-30 and they faced the Rangers there on December 28th, 1929. The Rangers won 3-1.
*When the Rangers were an expansion team in 1926, they went 0-3-1 against Ottawa. When the Senators were an expansion team in 1992, they went 0-3 against the Rangers.
*The Sens took goaltender Mark Laforest from the Rangers in the 1992 expansion draft.
*Some notable players who skated for both teams: Leo Bourgeault (won the Cup with the Rangers in '28, wore #99 late in his career), Norm Maciver, Joe Cirella, Marty Straka, Vinny Prospal, Alex Daigle, Karel Rachunek and, of course, Wade Redden.
Who To Troll On Twitter: The Sens themselves @NHL_Sens,
Bad Guy Blogs: The Black Aces is a solid fan blog and then there are the MSM SenatorsExtra, Bloguin's 6th Sens, and SBN's Silver Seven.