It took seven games but the number one seed New York Rangers ousted the eighth seeded Ottawa Senators. The Rangers were supposed to beat the Senators and they did. It was a lot tougher then it should have been at least on paper. The Senators though were probably the toughest draw for the Rangers of any team they could of played in the first round. I think a tough first round series will help them as they go through these playoffs. Let me take a look at why and how they won the series.
The Rangers have guys that can score goals but they aren’t a goal scoring team. They live and die by their defense and their goaltender. The identity of their team is defense and sacrificing their bodies to block shots and when they do make a mistake they feel they have the best goalie in the world. They did for the most part play good defense in this series and Henrik Lundqvist did his thing. The matchup in this series that the Rangers thought hey had won hands down was in goal. I give Craig Anderson a lot of credit for what he did but ultimately Lundqvist was better and that was the difference. It was a difference in game one, three and in game seven.
The Rangers did a good job on the penalty kill. I think they may have taken more penalties then they should have. They will have to clean that up in the second round. If they could be on the penalty kill less that will help the team. The team did do better on the power play overall then they had been doing all season. That is another reason they won this series. The Rangers need to take advantage of the man advantages they do get. The Rangers like to play defense and in the playoffs the best chances they may get will probably come during the power play. The Rangers need to score goals there and make that the difference.
The Rangers will play the Washington Capitals in the second round. It is a team that has knocked them out of the playoffs a couple of times in the last few years. The Rangers are the better team but they have to come out with the same intensity they had in game seven. If they can win their home games I think they can win this series in five or six at most. I would expect the Rangers to move on to the Eastern Conference finals and take on either the Philadelphia Flyers who they have owned all season or the New Jersey Devils who are a major rival and that would set up to be a classic series.