Rangers, Bruins and Devils in Close Series
A hotly contested NHL playoffs has made no exception for the local NHL teams, each of whom find themselves locked in close series. @JoeBianchino
New York Rangers: Sadly – for their fans – the Rangers are giving some evidence to the thought that seeding doesn’t matter in the NHL. Despite entering the playoffs the Eastern Conference’s top seed, the Rangers find themselves level at two games a piece with the Ottawa Senators. Despite two quality wins – a dominant win in game one, and an intensely exciting 1-0 triumph in game three – the Blue Shirts have been unable to hold leads in games two and four, losing both in overtime. It’s been a rough, physical series – the peak of such play coming in game two when Senator Matt Carkner accosted an unassuming Brian Boyle, and Carl Hagelin knocked Senator Captain Daniel Alfredsson from games three and four with a high elbow. Hagelin was suspended three games for the hit, he’ll be eligible to return in game 6. 2-2 is certainly not where the Rangers hoped to be, but this team is simply not one to back down from a fight. They’ll be ready for game five.
Boston Bruins: The Bruins find themselves on top of their best of seven – leading the Washington Capitals two games to one. It’s been Tim Thomas’ series – shutting out the Caps in game one, and making twenty nine saves in a game three triumph. Comparatively, this series has been rather tame – though the end of game three did feature a skirmish that saw the Capitals’ Niklas Backstrom deposit the shaft of his stick into his foe’s face. Backstrom was suspended one game for the violation. Game four will be on Thursday night from Washington; and though the Bruins lead – and have certainly looked the better team – with Alexander Ovechkin as your opponent, one can never be too comfortable.
New Jersey Devils: The Devils have, unquestionably, played in the least talked about playoff series of this year’s NHL playoffs. The play between they and the Florida Panthers has been impressive, each contest heading into the last minutes of the third a one goal game. But with neither market driving the national meter, and with other series making outrageous headlines, the two teams have been largely incognito. The Devils trail in the series after back to back losses, including a game three, home, loss which not only saw the Panthers rally from a three goal deficit, but also saw the benching of will be hall of fame goalie Martin Brodeur. The Devils are back in action on Thursday from Newark, in a game that is very nearly a must win.