Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal playoff series between the eighth-seeded Ottawa Senators and first-seeded New York Rangers will begin shortly after 7 p.m. ET on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York.
No. 8 Ottawa Senators at No. 1 New York Rangers
7 p.m. ET Thursday -- Game 1, Eastern Conference Quarterfinals | Series tied, 0-0
National TV: NHL Network US, CBC, RDS | Local TV: MSG
Ottawa appeared to be locked in as the No. 7 seed, but six regulation losses in their final 10 games allowed them to be overtaken by the Washington Capitals, setting up the first-round meeting with the Rangers. The Senators fared well against the Rangers in the regular season, winning three of four meetings and outscoring the blue shirts, 7-1, over the final two games, with goaltender Craig Anderson stopping all 34 shots on Jan. 12 for one of his three shutouts of the season.
Anderson has recovered from a post-game kitchen incident that sidelined him for a month of the regular season and is looking to live up to his reputation as a solid performer in the playoffs, the Ottawa Citizen reports.
"There are lots of guys, not just goaltenders, who get reputations from playoff performances," Anderson says. "It’s one of those things where everything matters and anybody can have a four-to-six-week stretch during the season where they’re outstanding. For some guys, it just happens in the playoffs. Guys go through slumps, guys go through highs and it’s just the timing of everything. Timing is everything in life."
A hot goalie would be bad news for the Rangers who, despite the acquisition of center Brad Richards and improved offensive production from captain Ryan Callahan, scored fewer goals in 2011-12 than they did the previous season. The Rangers will also be looking to avoid another early-round playoff exit (quarterfinal losses in 2008-09, 2010-11), preferring instead to replicate their playoff run from the last time they were the No. 1 seed (1993-94), which resulted in the franchise hoisting its first Stanley Cup since 1939-40.