Ottawa vs. NY Rangers: Round 2 Preview

Erik Karlsson, the defensive phenom and two-time winner of the Norris Trophy, told ESPN after Ottawa’s Round 1 victory over the Bruins that he has played since late March with hairline fractures in his left heel and has been taking shots for the pain. Scary considering that he scored six points in five games anyway.

Dion Phaneuf makes the Senators’ blueline even scarier, and contributed a big overtime goal in a crucial Game 2 win over Boston.

On New York’s defense, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi bounced back from a January concussion (Staal) and deep cut to an ankle (Girardi) to play serious shutdown minutes in the win over Montreal. Captain Ryan McDonagh is playing some of his best hockey. The fact that Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk came up zeroes and Tomas Plekanac scored just once for Montreal in Round 1 spoke volumes about the Rangers’ D.

Offensively, Bobby Ryan did little in the regular season (13 goals) but led the Sens with four goals, including two game-winners against Boston. Mike Hoffman and the inspiring Clarke MacArthur each potted two goals and only Viktor Stalberg (0) and Alex Burrows (0) came up empty amongst important forwards.

Rick Nash (2G; 23 SOG) hasn’t taken a night off in the postseason and seems ready to accept the challenge of being a top-six winger and leader. He’s been spending much more time in the slot and is playing the “big-man’s” game so many have wondered about over the years. Mats Zuccarello (3) was on fire in Round 1, and each of Jesper Fast, Michael Grabner and D-man Brady Skjei came through with two goals apiece.

This series can’t solely be a moratorium on the Derrick Brassard for Mika Zabinejad deal, but it makes it interesting, as both players (Zabanejad 1-3-4, Brassard 2-6-8) led their respective clubs in Round 1.

In goal, it’s a close call, but King Henrik Lundqvist was lights-out against the Canadiens, especially in crucial Games 5 and 6. Craig Anderson has been solid, but the King gets the nod.

Rangers’ depth foreshadows a big win, and a showdown with the Capitals in the East Final.

Rangers in 6.

LINEUPS

OTTAWA
FORWARDS
Dzingel / Turris / Burrows
Stalberg / Brassard / Ryan
Hoffman / Smith / Stone
MacArthur / Pageau / Pyatt

DEFENSEMEN
Methot / Karlsson
Phaneuf / Ceci
Harpur / Wideman

GOALTENDERS
Anderson / Condon

NEW YORK RANGERS
FORWARDS
Kreider / Stepan / Zuccarello
Vesey / Zibanejad / Nash
Miller / Hayes / Grabner
Buchnevich / Lindberg / Fast
Scr: Glass

DEFENSEMEN
McDonagh / Girardi
Staal / Holden
Skjei / Smith

GOALTENDERS
Lundqvist
Raanta

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