|Angus' Playoff Pool Primer - Part 2 of 2|
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: (2) Washington Capitals vs. (7) New York Rangers
Look for the Rangers to attempt to bring some physicality into this series, as the Capitals are a pretty soft team (past Alex Ovechkin at least). Sean Avery will of course be at the forefront of this series, and he will definitely be doing his best to be a thorn in the side(s) of Ovechkin, Alex Semin, and Mike Green.
The Rangers still struggle to score, and they are facing a goalie in Jose Theodore who has never lost in the first-round before (that is my obscure/useless stat for the day). The Capitals are dynamic offensively and competent defensively, and are the heavy favorites in this series for good reason.
Some fantasy sleepers to keep in mind would be Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky for New York (Tortorella loves the crash-and-bang style that these two play), and Brooks Laich on the Capitals, who brings some much needed jam and grit to a very skilled top-nine forward group.
Forwards: Big edge to the Capitals. The Rangers top forwards are all perimeter players (Naslund, Gomez, Zherdev, Drury), while the Caps have a great blend of skill, grit, and play-making.
Defense: New York. The Capitals lack mobility on the back end (after Green obviously), and the Rangers have a decent six man unit.
Goaltending: Huge edge to New York. Theodore has been shaky all season, and Lundqvist is one of the best in the game.
Intangibles: Washington. Their power play is going to make teams pay this post-season.
Match-up to Watch For: Betts vs. Ovechkin. I assume the underrated Betts will have the impossible job of shutting Ovechkin down. No one on the Rangers defense is physical enough to match up with Ovechkin, so I expect him to walk all over the Rangers.
The Verdict: Lundqvist steals a couple - Caps in six.