Round 2 of the NHL Playoffs continues tonight, as some heavy hitters get started on Thursday night. The two top favourites to win the Stanley Cup, the Penguins and Capitals begin. A lot are regarding the winner of that series, the eventual winner of the Stanley Cup.
It isn’t the boldest of statements, but I certainly couldn’t make a compelling argument in disagreement there. Elsewhere, the Rangers and Senators take flight in Ottawa for Game 1 of their series as well.
We’re looking at making a winning pick in the Rangers and Senators series tonight, with the Rangers getting much more of the attention. I think it’s safe to say that the Sens are the most disrespected team in the playoffs.
There isn’t much buzz surrounding them, and I haven’t seen anyone pick them to go beyond this round against the Rangers. In fact, the Rangers to win it all have become a somewhat popular selection.
The Penguins and Capitals seem too easy, so I think people are trying to get cute picking the Rangers. Is there anyone out there who has the Senators winning this series? It’s usually tough to find a team with home ice advantage getting the shaft from pundits.
The Sens haven’t gotten much recognition during the regular season, so it’s no surprise that Bobby Ryan and company aren’t getting any attention, even after dispatching the Boston Bruins in six games. Let’s get right to our pick for Game 1 between the Rangers and Senators.
N.Y. Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators Game 1 Pick
The catalyst for the Rangers’ playoff run must be Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist did his part in the first-round against the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs’ offence found it difficult to score, allowing an average of 1.6 goals per game. Part of it was the Rangers, and part of it was Canadiens’ offence playing poor hockey. The Rangers averaged 2.3 goals per game, but it was enough to down the Canadiens.
The Senators do have some extra motivation in the playoffs. Goaltender, Craig Anderson’s wife has been battling cancer for the past several months. Anderson has had to take time off to tend to her side, while leaving the Senators behind for more important matters.
The Sens fought through the adversity and finished with a solid record of 48-29-7. Anderson played well in the first-round, allowing an average of 2.1 goals per game vs the Bruins. I expect this to be another extremely tight series. Although, you’d think this is going to be an easy series win for the Rangers, given some predictions from others.
Note that the Rangers and Senators have traded wins dating all the way back to March 26th, 2015, eight meetings ago. That was the last time a team won two in a row. The Senators have the lone win this season in their only meeting, a 3-1 victory at MSG not that long ago on April 8th. The public is on the Rangers in Game 1, and they are slight favourites. I’m going to wager that the Senators come out on fire at home in Game 1. The Sens take this one, in what should be one heck of a series.
PICK: SENATORS (-105)