Sean Avery 2

Playoffs Start Tonight!

Well my friends, the 2008 NHL Playoffs kick off tonight, and the Rangers will of course face the Devils in Newark (7:00pm – MSG). It looks like Bendan Shanahan will be back with Scott Gomez and Sean Avery, with Petr Prucha replaced in the line-up by Ryan Hollweg (though we will likely not know for sure until game time).

On defense, the Devils will scratch big hitter Vitaly Vishnevski and dress Bryce Salvador in his place. Salvador was acquired back at the trade deadline, but has missed much of the latter part of the season wih inuries. On the Rangers blueline, it looks as if Tom Renney is considering scratching both Paul Mara and Marek Malik in favor of Jason Strudwick.

Who’ll win the series? Well it depends who you believe. The Daily News thinks the Rangers might have the edge, while the The Post thinks it’ll be Devils in 6.

One thing’s for sure, both teams have plenty of Cup experience. The Rangers being lead of course by Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan, who is ready for another run at the Cup.

One thing’s for sure, these two teams are very evenly matched on paper, and the Rangers have taken a page out of the Devils’ playbook in recent years, focusing on defense first.

In net we’ll see stalwarts Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Brodeur. Brodeur says he’s not a diver and that his flops and hysterics are no more than him playing the game hard…yeah, we believe you “Marty”. At any rate, Brodeur isn’t getting worked up about the series with the Rangers.

Some of the offense may be however. Henrik Lundqvist has gone 10-1-3 in regular season play against the Devils since losing three of the four games in the 2006 playoffs. New Jersey has certainly had trouble getting the puck by him, as evidenced in Sunday’s season finale when Zach Parise was robbed twice on the back doorstep.

Neither team will have a tough time with travel in this series, in fact the Rangers are likely to enjoy a pretty decent level of support at Prudential Place.

The players expected to lead the Rangers in the playoffs are relatively obvious, but after Brodeur, who do you point to on the Devils? The Devils for their part are happy to play that game, focusing on team first.

One of those Rangers’ leaders thinks that New York will get a boost from rookies Brandon DubinskyRyan CallahanNigel Dawes and Marc Staal. Callahan played in every game of last season’s playoffs, while Dawes saw action in the game 6 loss to Buffalo.

Want to see some previews, then check out these: Star LedgerNewsday and Post

Meanwhile, if you’re feeling nostalgic, then take a trip with Larry Brooks back through the top 5 playoff moments between the two teams.

As for other Rangers’ related news (and there is some)…

The Charlotte Checkers lost their first game in a best of five series with the Gwinnett Gladiators. The Checkers were shutout 4-0, with Chris Holt stopping 28 of the 32 shots faced. Matt Zaba might get a chance to play for Idaho tonight, as they open their post season against Alaska, but wih three goalies on the 20 man post-season roster he might have to wait his turn.

Ryan Hillier scored the first goal for the Mooseheads last night as they took a 3-0 series lead over Cape Breton. It took two overtimes to decide what was the fourth longest game in QMJHL history. David Skokan and Rimouski are on the edge of elimination with a third straight loss.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x