Saturday, April 21, 2012
W2W4: Rangers vs. Senators
By Katie Strang
At a glance: Tied at 2-2, the series returns to New York for a pivotal Game 5 at Madison Square Garden between the Rangers and Senators. So much for what was expected of a 1 vs. 8 match-up – the series has been as even as any throughout he first-round of the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs. The Rangers hope to reclaim momentum before heading back to Ottawa on Monday while the Senators aim for yet another upset without captain Daniel Alfredsson.
OT woes: Should Saturday’s contest head into overtime, the odds are not in New York’s favor. The Rangers have dropped both sudden death sessions this series and have failed to record an overtime win since April 29, 2007. Their mind-boggling skid stands at seven straight playoff overtime losses.
Separation anxiety:Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards appear to be separated once again. Although the tandem combined on the team’s top line during the second half of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs, they were severed once again in Game 4.
Skipping stones: All indications are that Senators prospect Mark Stone is set to make his NHL debut Saturday. Should he be in Ottawa’s lineup for Game 5, the 19-year-old Winnipeg, Manitoba native is in for a daunting leap. The former sixth-round draft pick just recently finished his fourth season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League and would be making the jump from junior hockey to the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs. Welcome to the show, kid.
Alfie update: Daniel Alfredsson will miss his third straight game after suffering a concussion in Game 3, but skated Saturday back in Ottawa and “made progress” according to Senators coach Paul MacLean. MacLean reported no changes to the status of injured forward Jesse Winchester.
Hang on, Hagelin:Carl Hagelin will serve the last of a three-game suspension for his hit on Alfredsson that forced the Senators captain from the game last Saturday. The Rangers have sorely missed Hagelin’s speed and forechecking pressure in the pair of game he has missed.