After an 82 game slog, the playoffs are finally here!
With a balanced offense, solid defense and the King in net, the Blueshirts enter the tournament poised to make a run at Lord Stanley’s Cup, but first must get through the Philadelphia Flyers in what is sure to be another classic chapter in the long Rangers Flyers rivalry.
To preview the
Patrick Metropolitan Division series, Rangerface posed some questions to the experts. Reade from New York Rangers Memes, Vin from True Blue – I am a Ranger and Bryan from Blueshirts Nation run some of the most popular NYR sites on Facebook. With over 17,000 faithful Blueshirt followers between the sites, these guys know the Rangers. Here is their (and our) take on the first round.
Who do you think will be the most important player in the series?
Reade: The most important player in the series will be Brad Richards. If he can stop making ridiculous mistakes, the team will really benefit and his linemates will rack up more points.
Vin: The most important player of this series is going to have to be Henrik Lundqvist.
Bryan: Henrik Lundqvist.
Rangerface: The most important player will be Derek Stepan. Step, despite his terrible skating is so smart offensively and generates so much offense. If he can click with Nash, or St. Louis good things will happen.
Hank. Like Vin says, it all stems from Hank.
Rangerface has been writing all year that the Blueshirts biggest weakness is their lack of an answer to the physicality of the bigger teams like Philadelphia and Boston. Will the Rangers be able to hold up against the Flyers physical play?
Reade: Oh yes. Remember, the Rangers acquired former Flyer Dan Carcillo for a series just like this. He is ready for a physical series.
Vin: The Flyers are always tough! They definitely bring a ton of physical play and grit! But I think we will be able to match that play with Daniel Carcillo, Derek Dorsett, Kevin Klein, and even Dominic Moore.
Bryan: If the Rangers keep the puck deep in the Philadelphia zone and generate offensive zone time and pressure, I think the Flyers physical play will get them in trouble as they’ll be forced to take bad penalties.
Rangerface: Hope so.
Carcillo (along with Dorsett) will be key in this series.
What kind of impact, if any will Carcillo and Dorsett have on the series?
Reade: They can add some 4th line scoring if needed. These guys will add tons of fuel to the series.
Bryan: They are both great scrappers but I don’t think they will have an impact in the series. I don’t think thats the Rangers plan.
Rangerface: They have to be willing to stand up to the bigger tougher Flyers who will be hitting McDonagh and Staal every chance they get. They also have to hit everything in orange while staying out of the box as both are prone to taking stupid penalties.
Who scores more goals Brian Boyle or Rick Nash?
Vin: I’m gonna have to say Rick Nash hands down.
Bryan: Rick Nash.
Rangeface: Boyle has 6 goals in 33 playoff games while Nash has 2 goals in 16 playoff games (1/12 with the NYR.) If Boyle outscores Nash in this series, the Rangers are in trouble! Nash gets hot and pops 4 goals.
If Boyler finds the net more than Nasher, the NYR are in trouble.
What do you expect from Martin St. Louis?
Reade: I expect Martin St. Louis to keep doing what he has been doing. Despite him only scoring one goal since he came to New York, the team has done so well. I expect MSL to score 2 goals and add four assists in the first round.
Vin: I expect St. Louis to be the veteran he is and bring tons of leadership and knowledge about post-season play to the table. I also expect him to keep contributing like he’s been since coming over from the Lightning.
Bryan: I expect great playmaking and several assists in the series verse the Flyers but I don’t expect to see any goals from MSL.
Rangerface: Martin St. Louis will break out in a big way, especially on the power play. MSL, might just be the best small guy to ever play the game. Ranger fans will finally get to see that this post-season.
MSL: Ready to finally breakout on Broadway!
Who or what do you think will be the biggest surprise?
Reade: The biggest surprise will be Henrik Lundqvist. In a good way. Expect him to come out in game 1 and be a brick wall.
Vin: I think the biggest surprise is going to come from the NYR is their ability to roll four consistent lines against the Flyers! I think they will get contributions from all four lines and the D as well.
Bryan: It will be a huge surprise if Ray Emery plays like a brick wall.
Rangerface: The biggest surprise will be Anton Stralman scoring a couple of big goals.
Finish this sentence: “If Brad Richards….”
Reade: If Brad Richards stops making stupid decisions the team will possess the puck more in the offensive zone giving him, and them, more scoring chances.
Vin: If Brad Richards can be the Brad Richards that hoisted the Cup in 2004 and lead the Rangers with some much needed goals, then I can see this hockey team giving all other teams trouble.
Bryan: If Brad Richards scores a hat trick i will give away Rangers apparel!
Rangeface: If Brad Richards shoots another puck from the point into a defender’s skates, I’ll eat John Amirante’s wig!
Finish this sentence: “I’ll be shocked if…”
Reade: I’ll be shocked if we look like the 2013 “John Tortorella Style Rangers” where we score few goals.
Bryan: I’ll be shocked if Brian Boyle is the MVP in Round 1.
Rangerface: Rick Nash doesn’t have a big impact on the series.
Will McD and Girardi continue to shut down Giroux?
Reade: Of course, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh got signed to long term extensions for a reason. Expect them to be fearless defenseman throughout the series and stifle Giroux.
Vin: Giroux and Philly are going to have a lot of problems going up against McD and Girardi.
Bryan: They have both been solid for the Rangers all year. Mac moreso than G but they are both strong and tough. Im not worried.
Rangerface: Giroux is so good, but so are McDonagh and Girardi and Staal as well. I think Giroux will get his pointsm but mostly on the power play. I think McD shuts him down at even strength.
Shutdown D. Let’s shut down G!
What three things will have to happen for the Rangers to win the series?
1. A good power play
2. A good penalty kill
3. Be the first team to score in OT!
1. Score some goals
2. Have a strong defensive presence.
3. Henrik has to be Henrik.
1. Lundqvist has to be at the top of his game.
2. The Blueshirts have to play solid defensive shut down hockey.
3. The big guys Nash, MSL, etc. need to step up.
1. Scoring, lots of it. Especially from the big guns.
2. Hank must be the best goalie in the world.
3. The Rangers don’t get physically abused by the Flyers.
What three things have happen for the Rangers to lose the series?
1. The Rangers will be low scoring like the Tortorella Rangers.
2. Hank will have to struggle.
3. Giroux will have to be the player he has been this season.
1. Rangers collapse defensively.
2. The Blueshirts struggle offensively.
3. The Rangers take too many bad retaliatory penalties.
1. The Rangers get physically abused by the Flyers.
2. Hank is mediocre.
3. Nash and St. Louis are invisible.
Reade: Rangers in 5.
Vin: Rangers in 6.
Bryan: Rangers in 5.
Rangerface: Rangers in 6.
Let’s see this for times in the next two weeks boys!