After last night, the New York Rangers finally finished their seven-game series with the Washington Capitals.
The New Jersey Devils had the luxury of a few nights off after beating the mighty Philadelphia Flyers in five games.
The Rangers got this far by first defeating the Ottawa Senators in seven games. Then, as mentioned above, they needed another seven games to dispatch the pesky Capitals.
The Devils were able to defeat the surprisingly third-seeded Florida Panthers in seven games. However, as mentioned above, they only needed five to defeat the Flyers.
Let's start with the goaltending matchup. The Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes, and the Devils answer with veteran Martin Brodeur.
In the playoffs, Lundqvist is 8-4-2 with a .937 save percentage and a 1.68 goals against average. Those are fantastic numbers.
Brodeur's numbers are a record of 8-2-1, a .920 save percentage and a 2.05 GAA. Those numbers are great also.
The goaltending edge would have to go to Lundqvist and the Rangers, though. But expect both netminders to be really solid.
Time for the offensive rundown. The Devils have six players (Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Travis Zajac, David Clarkson, Dainius Zubrus and Adam Henrique) with at least seven points.
Kovalchuk and Zajac have five goals each, and Parise has four. So the offense is pretty well-balanced.
As for the Rangers, Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards lead the charge. Richards has 11 points, Gaborik has 10. In fact, in the Capitals series, Richards and Gaborik combined for seven goals, one less than the rest of the team's total.
The rest of the Rangers offense is going to need to step it up once the Devils start applying heavy pressure to the duo. Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle have three goals each, and Derek Stepan has seven assists.
The edge on offense goes to the Devils, though. They seem to have a more balanced offense that's played two less games.
The Rangers need Stepan and Callahan to step it up. Carl Hagelin doesn't have a goal in the postseason yet, by the way.
The Devils are averaging an even three goals per game. The Rangers are averaging 2.07 goals per game.
On the other side of the ice, the Devils are averaging 2.33 goals against per game, as opposed to the Rangers' 1.86.
That leaves the Devils with a difference of a positive .67 differential for average goals for and against. The Rangers are a positive .21.
To make a prediction, I believe the Devils will win in seven games.
Lundqvist is a better goalie than Brodeur, but Brodeur can obviously still hold his own. He stymied the blazing hot Flyers offense after all.
The Devils have a better offense by a wide margin. They were also able to be more efficient with games played.
The Rangers needed 14 games to get by the seventh and eighth seeds. They may be fatigued a bit as well.
It will be a great series, but the Devils may win out in six or seven.
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