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...basically what I've taken away from these three previews is that this is a tough series to predict. Both teams are so hot, you wonder if it'll carry over for both team or will one of them cool off.
...as far as my quick prediction, I think even without Staal, the pairing of McD and Girardi will be able to shut Ovechkin down and the Rangers will have just enough offense to squeak by the Capitals in another seven game series.
Ovie is an obvious thing the Rangers need to contain, but I think Jaffe hit it on the head when he said it's also going to be up to the top centers on each team. In that respect, I like the Rangers' chances. I think Stepan is a far superior defensive center than Backstrom so I can see Step playing him tough from a defensive side but getting his opportunities offensively. At this point, I'd say Richards and Ribeiro are a wash.
The one telling factor? Caps can NOT win outside of their division, I think they've only won 7-8 times against non SE teams? They BARELY squeaked by the rangers in a shootout and that's when Ovechkin was hot, and before our new acquisitions. Just stay out of the fucking box, and don't let Ovi or Backstrom slip by the defense, and the rangers could win.
not counting S/O wins, they've only won outside of their division 8 times, a lot of those came against Buffalo, and the Bruins, Habs, and Leafs this month where they've all been terrible, so even those barely count. Ths is going to be really interesting.