Rangers Vs. Bruins: Second Round Bantering Points

Greg Fiume

Some musings to get you through the morning before the Rangers and Bruins kick off the second round.

- First of all, I wrote a couple of stories yesterday that you guys might have missed. We had some massive server issues yesterday so just make sure you take a look. One of the stories was on Rick Nash's second chance in the second round. The other was on the New York Rangers sudden plethora of depth. Give em a read if you missed them during the madness yesterday.

- So we're not the only ones talking about how good Derick Brassard has been for the Rangers. It's also surprising him a bit, I guess. NHL.com has a really good story on his coming out party in this year's playoffs. Take a look, it's worth the read. The point with Brassard isn't just that he's been good, it's that he's been that good on this stage.

- The Boston Bruins are a much deeper team than the top-heavy Washington Capitals. So when I saw reports that John Tortorella had once again split Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi (he did it in Game 7 against the Capitals) in practice I wasn't surprised. There are more players for the Rangers to worry about when it comes to Boston's offense.

- Which is why it's such a good thing that Anton Stralman and John Moore have also stepped up in a big way on defense. It would be a fantastic if Marc Staal came back to help even out the defense but I don't have a good feeling about his return this season (note: this is a feeling, I have no inside information on the subject). So having Moore and Stralman (and Michael Del Zotto if it's the Del Zotto from Games 6 and 7) able to soak up big minutes will be huge.

- And, of course, Henrik Lundqvist is going to play a huge role, too. The Rangers didn't give up a single goal in the final 120 minutes of the first round. But that can't be expected in every series. The Rangers are going to have to find a way to give Lundqvist some cushion. That's not just about playing well in front of him, it's also about putting goals on the board.

- A guy who really didn't get as much credit as he should have from the first round is Derek Dorsett. He's a guy who can get under the other team's skin, drop the gloves if he has to (he didn't have to against Washington), brings a ton of physicality and can play big minutes without being a serious risk on the ice. He's not going to give you a ton of offense but he doesn't have to. He can play the game, and he fits the Rangers' system perfectly. He drew penalties against Washington and was huge in Game 7. He's gotten even better as the season has gone on.

- And Brian Boyle, of course. A lot of you guys thought the Rangers didn't need him during the regular season, but he's showing his worth in the playoffs in a big way. His physicality will be big, too.

- See how much we're talking about physicality? For good reason. The Bruins are one of the toughest teams in the league. It's going to play a big factor in the second round.

- And of course, Nash needs to start scoring. So does Ryan Callahan. Brad Richards needs to be better, too. Nash is, however, going to probably be shadowed by Zdeno Chara. So long as the Rangers depth keeps scoring, Nash might be able to make more space for guys like Brassard and Mats Zuccarello.

Thoughts!

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