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TimeApr 29, 2017

Rangers v Senators - Game 1 - Ottawa Pushes Pace

Photo: Jason Kopinski/Icon Sportswire

A 2-1 score in game one of the Ranger/Senators match-up does not scream offense, but there was an undercurrent of offense that did not manifest itself in goals, but nonetheless was flowing strongly.

In game one, Ottawa created 42.7% more play-by-play offense than Montreal averaged against the Rangers in round one. The Rangers created 25.4% more offense in game one against Ottawa than they averaged against Montreal.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, their defensive response was 51.4% lower than they averaged against the Canadiens, and therefore the burden was shifted to Henrick Lundqvist, who was nothing less than spectacular. As good as he was, he was not able to overcome a 40.4% contribution advantage for Ottawa.

In simple terms, the better team won, even if it took a late lucky bounce to do so.

Ranger Contribution Highlights

Chris Krieder led Ranger forwards followed by a surging Jimmy Vesey, and Pavel Buchnevich, who turned in his best effort of the playoffs.

Absent from the leaderboard was; Matt Zuccarello, who showed his first decreased contribution in seven playoff games; Kevin Hayes who had his weakest game of the playoffs, and; Rick Nash was also well below his playoff average.

We might expect Oscar Lindberg to play a little more when the usual suspects are not at the top of their game. He played the least of any Ranger player but was very good against the Canadiens with limited ice time.

Ryan McDonagh led Ranger defensemen with a great offensive game but his defensive contributions were inconsistent. Dan Girardi was 50% above his average vs Montreal and led all Rangers defensively. Marc Staal was slightly above his round one average but most of his contribution was on offense.

Senators Contribution Highlights

Ryan Dzingel, Mark Stone were the two strongest Senator forwards. Jean-Gabriel Pageau finished at the top of the second tier of Ottawa forwards, who were remarkably consistent from top to bottom.

Tommy Wingels played the least at just over 12 minutes and had solid contributions, which shows just how deep Ottawa’s forwards are.

Neither of Mika Zibanejad nor Derek Brassard were especially great in game one in the backdrop of their trade, although Zibanejad has maintained steady performance after a tough start to the playoffs.

Eric Karlsson managed huge offensive contribution numbers, and his defense was solid. Marc Methot and Cody Ceci were more than twice the distance behind Karlsson, but both had a very strong defensive performances.

The Senators rely very heavily on their top four defensemen. We know Karlsson can handle the ice time but keep a close eye on how the other three defensemen manage the minutes as the series moves along.

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