New York, New York. That's where Pittsburgh will continue their quest for the Stanley Cup in round two, as Washington was unable to put the Flyers down tonight on Versus. Of course, with home ice advantage, the series starts in Pittsburgh - not New York.
Hark - er, Henrik is more like it. Yeah, good ol Henrik Lunqvidst is up for the Vezina, and with good reason. He's the only reason why New York is in the playoffs and, should the Penguins fail to score on the Rangers (doubtful), he will be the only reason why the Rangers remained.
Alongside Henrik for the Vezina contention are Evgeni Nabakov and Martin Brodeur. Pending San Jose's potential loss to Calgary in game 7, Henrik's company could be an excellent sign of things to come for the Penguins.
There couldn't be a more evenly matched series heading into the playoffs then the one between the Rangers and Penguins. The Penguins posted a 3-3-2 record against the Rangers (and yes, I'm aware this means the Rangers posted a 5-3 record) in the regular season, shutting them out once. On a similar note, the Rangers shut down the Penguins once as well.
Perhaps the most devastating aspect of the Rangers' games is their D's ability to block shots. While they are nowhere near the defensive prowess of teams like New Jersey of Boston (both eliminated - ironic?), New York touts some big shot blockers and excellent play in their own end. Further proof comes from the last regular season game between the two teams - where the Penguins only mustered up one shot in the first period en route to a 2-1 overtime loss.
Now I think I speak for everyone when I say this has been a horrid dry spell. Exciting and beneficial as it was for Pittsburgh to sweep Ottawa in round one, this past week has felt like the offseason. I need me some hockey!
Game 1, round 2 - Friday night. Although not posted on the Pittsburgh site, if Versus serves me correctly it is that day. Exact time and complete confirmation of game to come.