2012 NHL Playoffs: Rangers Vs. Senators - Scouting The Opposition

To prepare for the New York Rangers first round matchup we will be posting stories previewing the series from today until Thursday. Each story will feature on a different aspect of the series. Enjoy.

In this segment we are going to take a general glance at the Ottawa Senators as a whole. We will go into more detail in future.

- The Offense: The Senators' offense is lead by Jason Spezza, who finished the season with 30 goals and 54 assists. You've probably also heard about Erik Karlsson, the 21-year-old defenseman who scored 78 points of his own this year. Ottawa also has Milan Michalek (60 points) and, of course, Daniel Alfredsson (59 points). In total the Senators have two 30-goal scorers, one 20-goals scorer and two players with 50 or more assists.

If you look at the same categories with the Rangers: The Rangers have one 40-goal scorer (Marian Gaborik), two 20-goal scorers (Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards) and one player with over 40 assists (Richards).

The Senators, in total, are fourth in the NHL with a whopping 2.96 goals scored a game on average. The Rangers are 11th with 2.71 goals scored a game.

Edge: Ottawa. (Although, in reality, the offenses are pretty close. The Rangers score .25 less goals a game on average, which is why you have to give the nod to the Senators. This one is close though.)

Join me after the jump for more.

- The Defense: Rather than going through each defenseman the Senators have, we'll take a look at the general numbers from each side. The Senators might score a ton of goals, but they also allow opposing teams to score a lot of goals as well. Ottawa is ranked 24th in the NHL, conceding 2.88 goals a game. The Rangers, on the other hand, are third in the NHL, only allowing 2.22 goals a game. There really isn't too much to discuss here.

Edge: New York.

- Goaltending: The New York Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist.

Edge: New York.

- Power Play: The Rangers' power play has been hot and cold all year. Mainly cold until recently when it has started to click and come together. Even with the late surge, the Rangers are only scoring on 15.7% of their opportunities with the man advantage. That's the lowest of any Eastern Conference playoff team. Eesh. The Senators, however, have had a potent power play; converting 18.2% of their power plays (which is good for 11th in the NHL).

Edge: Ottawa.

- Penalty Kill: Once again, the Rangers shine on the defensive end of the puck. The Rangers' penalty kill is fifth-best in the NHL, successfully killing off 86.2% of opposing team's power play opportunities. The Senators are 20th in the NHL, only killing off 81.6%.

Edge: New York.

- Special Teams: I had to split up the power play and the penalty kill because the numbers obviously differed significantly. When you take the two together, you probably need to give an edge to the Rangers, simply because their power play can (read: can) come to life and win them a game. It hasn't happened often, but I have a feeling the Rangers little spurt at the end of the season was a little showing of things to come in the playoffs. As for the penalty kill, it has won games for the Rangers on a consistent basis all year.

Anyway, thoughts guys?