...to a degree at least. Eric the Rangers Fan was nice enough, and humble (to an extent) enough to give the readers here at Pensburgh the chance to catch a sensible New York perspective on the series. Below is his personal preview (also available on the right toolbar under diaries), followed by my reaction.
O.K. first and foremost I expect a much less physical series then the one the Rangers just endured against the Devils. Don't get me wrong there will be plenty of scrums, Sean Avery will harass Sid and Malkin every time they are on the ice together, and I'm sure that Laraque and Ruutu will be in Jagr and Gomez's faces, especially Ruutu on Jagr. I don't know what Ruutu says/does to Jagr but I get the strong feeling that those two dislike each other.
In this series home ice means nothing, it will boil down to the Pens offense Vs. the Rangers defense and Lundqvist. If the Rangers can keep the Pens to 2 goals or less they should win, and the Rangers have to keep these games low scoring, they don't have the fire-power to match the Pens.
I see a tough hard fought series with the Rangers winning game 6 in front of the home crowd. (You didn't think I was going against my team, did you?) Main reason being, they have the best Goalie left in the eastern conference play-offs. MAF is good but Hank is better.
Feel free to agree/disagree, throw insults, and laugh at me. Just be careful you don't get to over confident.
Eric the Rangers Fan
While I didn't watch much of the Rangers/Devils series, I do feel that this may be a bit harder hitting than some may expect. Brooks Orpik has been insane for the Pens' D, Ruutu and Avery may tangle up a bit and Hal Gill will be matted so close to Jagr you'd thinkk he was a Ranger.
When I look back on the trades right around the deadline, you have the obvious good one (Hossa), the surprisingly good one (Dupuis) and the silent but deadly good one (Gill). But one particular instance that I remember coming from the trade is the stats Jagr DOESN'T put up when he plays against Gill. In fact, Gill has eternally been known to shut down Jagr at every corner. Jagr's aging legs attempting to cut corners around Gill's towering frame and stick leave little room to work with. I think this may be the silent matchup of the playoffs.
I have to agree with Eric - this is going to be a hard fought series. Goaltending, as is normally the case in playoff hockey, is going to win this. While MAF has only had two instances since the first of March where he's allowed three goals (the rest two or less), the last regular season game against the Rangers was an 2-1 OT loss.
However the night before was a 3-1 win for the flightless birds.
Season records aside, we have playoff hockey fired up and ready to go tonight.
As a final statement, and this may sound so obviously stupid, but if the Penguins want to win they have to outscore the Rangers. Yes I know, hockey is all about the goals you put up for victory - after all, that's the point. But I mean it in a statistical sense as well. Outhit, outshoot, outskate and outplay the Rangers. While a one goal lead would be a great way to start any of these games, nothing says security like 2. While 15 shots a period may sound flattering, it means nothing if all are stopped and the Pens don't repeat it in the next period. If Pittsburgh stays on top of their game both offensively and defensively like they did against Ottawa, this could all be done in 5.