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Playoff matchups: Rangers draw surprise Senators

Henrik Lundqvist

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30), of Sweden, watches a shot by Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza get past him for a goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012, in New York. The Senators won 3-0. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)


The New York Rangers probably expected to face either the Florida Panthers or Washington Capitals in the first round, yet a busy Saturday shuffled things in interesting ways. They’ll instead face the eighth seed Ottawa Senators thanks in part to the Blueshirts’ decisive 4-1 loss to the Caps and Ottawa’s own 4-2 defeat at the hands of the New Jersey Devils.

It’s an interesting strength vs. strength (and perhaps weakness vs. weakness?) matchup. The Rangers have a great defensive system and an even better goalie in Henrik Lundqvist while Ottawa’s high-powered offense features Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek.

This should also be a showcase of Jack Adams-worthy candidates as fiery John Tortorella hopes to ward off Detroit Red Wings coaching tree product (and wonderfully moustachioed) bench boss Paul MacLean.

The Rangers are likely to be heavy favorites in this one, but chew on this: the Senators took three out of four games in the season series. Is that enough to sway your vote or should the Rangers advance as heavy favorites?