There is one reason why the New York Rangers will win the second game and the first round NHL playoff series against the Washington Capitals, according to Pierre Maquire on TSN, who i heard yakking on "The Fan" today.
That reason, he said, is Sean Avery.
I can think of several other reasons, so here's my top 10 reasons the Rangers will upset the Caps.
1. Maguire claims Avery got to the Washington Capitals' goalie, Jose Theodore, as well as defenseman, Mike Green, and Damien Cox of the Toronto Star insists Avery had more of an impact on the first game than the Caps best player, Ovechkin.
2. The Rangers took that first game of the series from the Caps in front of their hometown crowd. That always gives the winner a lot of energy, and that's the second reason the Rangers will win.
3. Coach John Tortorella has had a huge impact on the Rangers, according to all reports. Torts appears to be the right coach in the right place at the right time.
4. Henrik Lundqvist is an excellent goalie. He stopped 15 Ovechkin shots in Game One.
5. Big Nik Antropov got a goal in the first game, and that is something he never did when the Toronto Maple Leafs got into the playoffs.
Also, he scored a goal every third game with the Leafs in the regular season, but scored every other game for the Rangers.
A lot has been said about Avery playing his best with the Rangers, rather than in Dallas or anywhere else. It looks like Antropov loves NY, too.
6. Scott Gomez and Chris Drury had disappointing seasons going before the NHL trade deadline, but they have both been reborn under Tortorella, as well as playing with Avery and Antropov.
7. The Rangers killed the Caps home-ice advantage, but the Rangers fans in Madison Square Garden are fanatics who help their team win.
8. Redden and Roszival came back once the playoffs began to play the way Rangers fans wanted them to play all winter.
9. Experience counts for a lot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Caps experienced defeat last year, fighting the Philadelphia Flyers in a very physical series.
The Rangers experienced first round success against the New Jersey Devils last year. Also, their coach and captain both have Stanley Cup championship experience.
10. The Capitals have great offense, as everybody knows, and both Ovechkin and Green will get on the scoreboard. However, it appears the Caps only strategy for dealing with Rangers star Sean Avery is to try to turn him into the "invisible man".
If you ignore him, Avery does not go away. He knocks you down, strips you of the puck, speeds to the net, and scores.
There's a great deal of parity and competitiveness in the NHL these days, so just about any team can beat anyone. Lots of upsets were predicted for this playoff season, and the Rangers are known as the No. 1 dark horse.
Watch for Seabiscuit racing down Madison Avenue.