Friday, April 15, 2011

Playoff Round #1 Game #2 Preview: New York Rangers at Washington Capitals



Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When:  April 15, 2011, 7:30 PM

History:           
All-Time Playoff Series Record vs. NYR: 3-2
All-Time Playoff Game Record vs. NYR: 16-14
Last Meeting: 2009, WAS 4 NYR 3

This Year:
WAS Record: 48-22-11
Standings Points: 107
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 1st

NYR Record: 44-33-5
Standings Points: 93
Division Rank: 3rd
Conference Rank: 8th    

2010-2011 Regular Season Series: 1-2-1
Nov. 9, 2010 WAS 5 NYR 3
Dec. 12, 2010 WAS 0 NYR 7
Jan. 24, 2011 WAS 1 NYR 2 (OT-SO)
Feb. 25, 2011 WAS 0 NYR 6

Playoff Series Schedule and Results:
Apr. 13, 2011 WAS 2 NYR 1 (OT)
Apr. 15, 2011 at Washington
Apr. 17, 2011 at New York
Apr. 20, 2011 at New York
Apr. 23, 2011 at Washington*
Apr. 25, 2011 at New York*
Apr. 27, 2011 at Washington*
*If required

Probable Line-Ups:     
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 2: 18 STURM, 44 ARNOTT, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 21 LAICH, 90 JOHANSSON, 25 CHIMERA
Forward Line 4: 26 HENDRICKS, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 55 SCHULTZ, 23 HANNAN
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 4 ERSKINE, 52 GREEN
Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH
Back-up Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV

New York
Forward Line 1: 20 PROSPAL, 42 ANISIMOV, 10 GABORIK
Forward Line 2: 17 DUBINSKY, 21 STEPAN, 19 FEDOTENKO
Forward Line 3: 86 WOLKSKI, 22 BOYLE, 8 PRUST
Forward Line 4: 36 ZUCCARELLO, 26 CHRISTENSEN, 23 DRURY
Defense Pair 1: 18 STAAL, 5 GIRARDI
Defense Pair 2: 27 MCDONAGH, 38 SAUER
Defense Pair 3: 28 MCCABE, 97 GILROY
Goalie: 30 LUNDQVIST
Back-up Goalie: 29 JOHNSON

Injuries:
Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, (upper body) IR, 6 WIDEMAN (lower body) DTD

NYR – BIRON (broken collarbone) IR, BOOGAARD (concussion) IR, FROLOV (knee) IR, CALLAHAN (ankle) IR

Preview:

The Capitals took Game #1 in overtime with Alexander Semin scoring the game winning goal. For Semin it was his first playoff goal since scoring against the Rangers in 2009. Keep watch on the Capitals second lie as I think they are the key to Washington’s success in this series. Michal Neuvirth fared quite well in his playoff debut but he needs to be aware that the Rangers have said that they need to generate more scoring chances and have vowed to get in Neuvy’s grill to do it. The defense will need to be aware of this and punish anyone taking liberties with their young goalie. Game #2 will have the same grind it out defensive tone as Game #1 so look for more board battles and clogged neutral zones. The two teams combined for 60 blocked shots in the first game so the Capitals should look to their go to the goal guys, Mike Knuble and Brooks Laich, because it looks like ugly goals are going to be the order of this series. I am thinking that the Ranger will press early in this game trying to get more offense but that will leave them vulnerable to counter attack. The Caps will exploit this and come away with another close victory.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 NYR 1


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