Boston Bruins (4) vs. New York Rangers (6)
New York won two games from Boston in a shootout and in overtime, respectively and lost one game to the Bruins in regulation. They met fairly early in the season though and the Rangers have changed a great deal since then because of trades with Columbus and San Jose. The Original Six rivals haven't played in the playoffs since 1973, which the Rangers won in five games. However, the Bruins have history on their side as they have won six of the eight series between the two squads.
The Bruins had their 3-1 series lead evaporate against Toronto in the quarterfinals, but they turned the table on the Maple Leafs in Game 7 when they rallied from a three-goal deficit late in the third period to set up Patrice Bergeron's series winner in overtime. Bergeron, who also scored the game-tying tally in the final minute of regulation, had only one marker in the previous six games of the series before scoring two big goals in Game 7.
Boston was led offensively in the opening round by the line of David Krejci (13 points), Milan Lucic (nine points) and Nathan Horton (seven points). Captain Zdeno Chara logged a lot of ice time and he got into the scoring act as well with eight points. Tuukka Rask was also excellent in the crease, while facing the second most rubber in the first round at 234 total shots.
New York dropped the first two games of the series, but they battled back on home ice to even the series. The Blueshirts became the first road team to win in the series in Game 7. The superb play of Daniel Girardi and Ryan McDonagh held Alex Ovechkin, who ended on a five-game pointless skid, and his linemates in check for most of the series as well.
The Rangers' new additions have been great in the postseason, with Derick Brassard (nine points) leading the charge offensively; Derek Dorsett (16 hits in six games) providing a physical presence and John Moore supplying some solid depth work on the back end. New York is also benefiting from the red hot play of Henrik Lundqvist, who posted back-to-back shutouts to shut down the Washington Capitals and their potent scorers. Mats Zuccarello had five points in the first round to give the Blueshirts the bulk of their offensive production behind Brassard, while Carl Hagelin had four.
This should be another physical series for both teams, as they play similar grinding styles. The battle between the pipes of Boston's Tuukka Rask and New York's Henrik Lundqvist should be an outstanding match-up. Rask has proven to be a reliable number one option for the B's, while Lundqvist has regained his Vezina Trophy form in the postseason. The Bruins and Rangers are still waiting for some important forwards to break out offensively, but the key to this series will likely be the Rangers' ability to shut down Krejci's line the same way they did to Ovechkin's. Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan are way past due for some offense and they are too important to the Rangers to be quiet for another series. Also with Lundqvist playing as well as he is and the Bruins nearly getting knocked out by the upstart Maple Leafs, I'll take the Rangers in seven.
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Rich Peverley - Chris Kelly - Jaromir Jagr
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton
Carl Soderberg - Kaspars Daugavins - Jay Pandolfo
Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg
Adam McQuaid- Johnny Boychuk
Dougie Hamilton - Matt Bartkowski
Wade Redden - Andrew Ference
David Krejci failed to record a point just once in the opening series and he leads the playoffs in scoring entering Round 2 with 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in seven contests. Zdeno Chara amassed a goal and six helpers as he had a four-game scoring streak to end the series. Jaromir Jagr collected four assists and 21 shots in his last five outings after struggling in the first two games following his return from flu-like symptoms.
Tyler Seguin had one assist in the seven-game series against Toronto and it came in Game 7. Brad Marchand led the Bruins with 18 goals during the regular season, but he didn't score any in seven playoff games while contributing three helpers. Chris Kelly didn't have a point in seven appearances versus the Leafs, while finishing with a minus-4 rating and six shots. Rich Peverley had one goal and no assists in six games after being a healthy scratch in Game 1.
Dennis Seidenberg played only 37 seconds in Game 7 after he appeared to go leg on leg with Matt Frattin on a hit attempt by the Leafs forward. If he isn't available for Game 1 of Round 2 on Thursday then the Bruins will be missing their second-best defenseman. Andrew Ference has missed the team's past two games with an undisclosed injury and was seen wearing a walking boot at the arena on Monday. Wade Redden was scratched from the lineup in Game 7 after he returned from a one-game absence in Game 6 from an undisclosed injury. He might still be laboring and so he should be considered day-to-day.
The Bruins continue to struggle with the man advantage after going three for 20 on the power play in the first round. They also didn't perform very well on the penalty kill, while allowing five goals on 21 shorthanded situations.
NEW YORK RANGERS
Carl Hagelin - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello
Derek Dorsett - Brian Boyle - Taylor Pyatt
Chris Kreider- Brad Richards- Arron Asham
Ryane Clowe - Kris Newbury - Darroll Powe
Ryan McDonagh- Daniel Girardi
Michael Del Zotto- Steve Eminger
John Moore - Anton Stralman
Matt Gilroy - Roman Hamrlik
Derick Brassard didn't get a point in his first two playoff games, but he then erupted for two goals and seven assists to record a five-game point streak. Mats Zuccarello notched a goal and four assists over his last five matches.
Rick Nash had a team-leading 21 markers during the regular season, but he didn't find the back of the net in seven games in his first-round return to the playoffs despite amassing 22 shots. He ended up with two assists in the series. Ryan Callahan generated a goal and two assists in seven games against Washington. Brad Richards, who was relegated to the fourth line at the end of the series, potted one goal in seven contests.
Ryane Clowe played in two games for the Rangers against Washington. His last appearance came in Game 5, but he had to leave early because of a suspected concussion issue. Darroll Powe also has an undisclosed injury, which is thought to be a possible concussion, which he sustained in Game 3 versus the Capitals. Marc Staal made an uplifting return in Game 3, but he didn't play in New York's next four games. He has been battling blurry vision and altered depth perception from a puck he took around his eye back on March 5 and it's uncertain if he'll be able to come back again before the end of the playoffs.
New York's power play was horrid in the first round. They converted just two goals on 28 opportunities and finished Round 1 ranked 15th of 16 teams. The penalty kill of the Rangers did a decent job considering how potent the Capitals' power play had been, but they still allowed three goals while they were shorthanded 16 times.