Saturday April 14th, 2012
CBC, Team 1200
8th East (41-31-10) @ 1st East (51-24-7)
NYR LEAD SERIES 1 GAME TO NONE
For about 50 minutes of game 1, the Ottawa Senators gave the Rangers all they could handle. Unfortunately, there was a 6 minute stretch near the end of the second period and the beginning of the third where the Rangers scored 3 times to extend a 1-0 lead to 4-0 before Ottawa scored a pair of late goals to make it a respectable 4-2 score.
Tonight’s game will show if Ottawa has what it really takes to dethrone the Eastern Conference’s top seed. With a game of playoffs under their belts, the Senators need to push the nerves that obviously affected them aside and play hockey. The lineups will be juggled for the Senators, as Daniel Alfredsson will be re-united with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek to start the game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Erik Karlsson, OTT – The league’s leading scorer among defensemen, is an obvious target of the Rangers whenever he has the puck. He must battle through it and key the rush for the Senators to be successful.
Ryan Callahan, NYR – The Rangers heart and soul was a menace on the forecheck in game 1, and scored the opening goal. The Senators must dissuade him from that style of game by taking the body on him before he can do the same to the Senators again.
THREE KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY
1. Get to Lundqvist Early – The Senators went almost 50 minutes before they got to the Rangers’ netminder, and put two past him. They need to score first to gain some confidence in this game and the series.
2. Anderson – He can’t allow goals like he did to Callahan and expect to win. The Rangers are too solid defensively to let them play with a lead for most of the game.
3. Avoid the blocked shots – The Senators need to use the Rangers’ selling out to block shots against them. Faking the shot to let sliding defenders go by, and shooting slightly wide hoping for deflections are two ways to do it. The Senators just have to be patient enough to make it happen, and they were gripping their sticks too tight in game 1 to do it.