Monday, April 23rd’s crucial NHL betting battle pits the No. 1 New York Rangers against the No. 8 Ottawa Senators, with the top seed trying to avoid the embarrassment of being the second No. 1 to get bounced out of the playoffs by a No. 8 this year.
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All of a sudden, these Rangers are starting to look like the old Rangers. The Rangers of the last four years, the ones that didn’t win a single playoff series and were lucky just to get into the postseason in any of those campaigns, always had problems offensively. Henrik Lundqvist would be able to stand on his head and win games on his own in spite of his lackluster offense, but in the end, the team just wouldn’t be able to score enough goals to get the job done. That wasn’t the case in the regular season in 2011-12, when New York averaged 2.8 goals per game and ranked in the middle of the pack offensively. We always knew that an average offense would be able to get this team to the top of the heap, and that’s exactly what happened this year. Of course, now that we are in the postseason, the Rangers aren’t able to score hardly anything against a team that was one of the worst defense teams in the game a year ago. Sure, Craig Anderson has played well for the Senators, but getting shut out on your home ice by a No. 8 seed like what happened in Game 5 just isn’t going to cut it.
We have most certainly seen some crazy results here in the first round of the NHL playoffs, but this would be the most bizarre of the bizarre if the Senators were able to finish off this series on Monday night. We have already mentioned that Anderson has been a stud in this series for Ottawa, but we haven’t had a chance to put this in perspective quite yet. Last year, Anderson was the starting net minder for the Colorado Avalanche, and his career looked to be over. He had a 3.28 GAA in 33 games before getting traded here to Ottawa, where he at least helped out a suspect goaltending situation. This year though, Anderson only had a 2.83 GAA, and though he did win 33 games, he was never looked upon as one of the better net minders in the playoffs, and he surely had no chance of knocking off the mighty Henrik Lundqvist… But alas, in this wild postseason where about the only thing that we have grown to expect is the unexpected, anything is possible, and Anderson, who has allowed just five goals in the last four games in this series, could be on the verge of the biggest triumph of his career.
New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators Pick: We still have to think that New York is going to find a way to survive in this one. It is going to be tough for sure, especially here on the road, with the entire country of Canada getting behind the only team that it has left in the playoffs.
Free Hockey Pick: New York Rangers
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.