2017 NHL Eastern Conference Semifinals Preview: New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators
The young squad of the Ottawa Senators will look to takedown the experienced New York Rangers squas. Photo: Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press

Three years after the Rangers won the seven-game series, the Rangers and Senators meet again for yet another series. The New York Rangers and the Ottawa Senators meet for the second time in their postseason history, but the match-up is a lot more even this time around. The last time they met it was the No. 1 seed vs. No. 8 seed, as the lower seed Senators still put up a fight pushing the series to seven games.

Overview from both teams

Rangers are currently the slight favourites heading into series right after upsetting the Montreal Canadiens. Henrik Lundqvist is in full playoff form as he only gave up 11 goals throughout the six-game series including a shutout. However, Ottawa’s offensive depth may bring the 'King' some trouble. Unlike the Canadiens, the Senators hold an offense threat on all four lines. The speed of the Senators will definitely cause some havoc to the fairly aging defensive blue line of the Rangers.

'The King' will look to stop every shot the Senators take. Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
'The King' will look to stop every shot the Senators take. Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The age isn’t the sole downside to their blue line. It’s also that the team has played a lot of hockey in the past five years. The Rangers have played 87 playoff games since the 2012 playoff run, and that’s the most compared to any other team. Also, with 5-to-6 top defencemen being over the age of 30, the team must be going through some sort of fatigue. This will be the Rangers weak spot where Ottawa is expected to take advantage. The second youngest team in the playoffs will expect to use their fresh legs to tire their back-line.

The Senators will look to use their speed to their advantage. Photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
The Senators will look to use their speed to their advantage. Photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

New York’s offensive depth and playoff experience may give them a slight advantage on the goal-scoring side. Both teams don’t have a checking line, but have four-goal first lines which will entail for some offensive bursts on both ends. 

Rangers and Senators Top Performers

The Rangers haven’t been able to find the net as they usually do, as the team fell in the bottom three in the playoffs for goals scored and percent on the power play. The phenomenal play by Henrik Lundqvist continues to be the team’s driving force every game. The 35-year-old is second in the playoffs in save percentage and goals against.

While Ottawa’s anchor is two-time Norris Trophy winner, Erik Karlsson, who is leading the playoffs in playoff points for defencemen. His quick hands have helped Ottawa escape the most threatening offensive bursts.

Fan Predictions  

Longtime Rangers fan, Ronklin Gracian, expects the Rangers to pull away with the series with the help of their star goaltender.      

It’s crazy how they beat the Habs, because before the series started every expected Price and the Habs to have the edge,” Gracian said. “Also the momentum from upsetting the Habs may give them the confidence to beat an inexperienced Ottawa side.”

Kevin Johnson, a neutral hockey fan, sees this series going both ways.

“It’s between the speed of Ottawa going against the talent of New York,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be entertaining from the first puck drop, and I see this series definitely going to seven games.”

My Prediction

The Rangers and Sens both have offensive talent within every line. The quickness of the Ottawa D-line will cause some trouble for the Rangers, while Rangers’ 'King Henrik' is on a roll from shutting down Carey Price and the Habs. This series can go either way, but the Rangers playoff experience may give them the slight advantage.