OTTAWA, CANADA – The NY Rangers started their second round NHL Playoffs series against the Ottawa Senators last night with a chippy 2-1 loss in Canada’s capital. Henrik Lundqvist was sharp early in goal. He made a number of fantastic saves but a bunch of bad Rangers penalties and a bad angle goal late on by Erik Karlsson gave the Sens the win and an early lead in this series. Hank kept the Rangers in the game as they squandered chance after chance, but the Blueshirts were undone late on by a shot Lundqvist should have kept out. The Rangers will need to bounce back Saturday afternoon.
The forwards looked sloppy with their passes and some seemed a step off the pace. Zibanejad and Buchnevich especially just couldn’t seem to get the blade of the stick on the puck cleanly. And the Rangers looked lost at times against the Sens’ neutral zone formation. AV will make his adjustments and game 2 should be completely different. Lets hope, anyway.
The Caps and Penguins also started their series last night. It’s sad that of the three best teams in the eastern conference only one will take part in the Eastern Conference Final. That’s the way things are set up at the moment. Teams play within the division until the Conference Final. So we have the two best teams in the league meeting in the second round. It should be a barn-burner of a series and is sure to go seven games. In the end I think the Caps will prevail. They’re looking to get the playoff monkey off of their backs. That monkey has grown into an 800-pound gorilla in recent years. They can’t manage to get past the second round. Another President’s Trophy with no Stanley Cup and we’ll be talking a lot of people in our nation’s capital off of a lot of ledges.
The Penguins are looking to make it back-to-back Stanley Cups and if they can get by the Caps they will be odds-on favorites to do so. Sidney Crosby scored two in the second period. Alex Ovechkin is looking to spoil the Penguins’ parade He scored last night also. The Penguins took their 2-1 lead into the 3rd period, but gave up the tying goal halfway through. The Pens scored the go-ahead goal with seven minutes left and the Penguins held on to draw first blood in the series.
I think re-seeding the teams after the first round would help make things more fair. But I doubt that will happen any time soon. The current format helps the Rangers this year, assuming they can get past the Senators. The Caps and Penguins will beat the tar out of each other over the course of the series. It’s a classic trap series for the Rangers. They should win this series but anything can happen. The Senators are a tough team that scores goals. The Rangers will need to toughen up and stay out of the penalty box if they want to get back to the Eastern Conference Final.
That’s it for me today. Please fire away below and check us out on Twitter @MeetTheMatts & @Different_Matt, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts. And back tomorrow for one of the following lucky contestants; Junoir Blaber, Grinding Ax Walter Hynes or Cunning Linguist Cam James?
P.s… That loud bang from just beyond La Guardia Airport was not a plane crash. It was the Mets season blowing up.