Game Four Preview

New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators, 7:30 PM at Scotiabank Place

Game Four Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (Rangers lead 2-1)

Where To Watch: MSG +

Where To Listen: 1050 ESPN Radio, and newyorkrangers.com

Live In-Game Chat: 7:15 PM on blueshirtsunited.com

 

What2Watch4

 

After winning a thrilling, and classicly-played, Game 3 on the road to grab a 2-1 series lead, the Rangers look to put a stranglehold on the series this evening when they skate against the Senators in Ottawa. Both teams will be looking to improve their games and take their drive and intensity up another few notches this evening, trying to gain the edge in what has been an extremely evenly played series to this point. Henrik Lundqvist was the difference in Game 3 with a 39-save shutout, the fourth post-season shutout of his NHL career. But Ottawa's Craig Anderson also was extremely sharp---and often times spectacular---on Monday night, and comes in with his confidence riding high. Brian Boyle---who has been dubbed the "villain" in Ottawa circles---has scored three of the Rangers seven goals in this series, including both game-winners; and his two-way play along with that of linemates Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko has been a big part of the Rangers success so far. Rookie Chris Kreider is expected to be more relaxed and on top of his game playing alongside veterans Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik this evening, as once again Carl Hagelin sits out due to his league-imposed suspension. With their backs close to, if not completely against, the wall, the Senators will likely come charging out of the gates tonight. The question is whether or not they will be led by team captain Daniel Alfredsson, who sat out Game 3 due to the afteraffects of being elbowed in the head in Saturday's Game 2 by Hagelin. Ottawa coach Paul MacLean will also have to decide if Matt Carkner---suspended for Game 3---will be reinserted into the Sens lineup tonight or if ex-Ranger Matt Gilroy will remain in the lineup.

 

PlayersToWatch:

 

Rangers-Dan Girardi: Not that it should come as a surprise after his All-Star play during the regular season, but Girardi has been a rock for the Rangers through the first three games of this series. He leads all players with 17 blocked shots already, is averaging 28 minutes of ice-time per game, and is tied with Brian Boyle and Artem Anisimov for the team scoring lead with three points (0-3-3).

Senators-Jason Spezza: Due in part to the great job Girardi and Ryan McDonagh have done against him, Spezza has had a very quiet series so far, with just one assist in three games. In Game 3, with Ottawa missing Daniel Alfredsson and needing a boost offensively, Spezza had three shots on goal in 19:44 worth of ice-time, while also taking three minor penalties.

 

"Listen it's going to remain a physical series. There is no backing down on either side. We just have to keep our discipline, and play with an edge, keep playing the way we have all year long."-Brian Boyle

 

ByTheNumbers

 

The Rangers are 39-29 all-time in Game 4 of the playoffs. They have won five of their last six Game Fours dating back to 2007.

The Rangers won only 34% of their faceoffs in Game 3. Only John Mitchell, who won two of three, had a winning faceoff percentage.

 

Share your prediction for tonight's crucial Game 4 below.

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