Will post a more detailed Rangers-Sens forecast in the paper, and here, tomorrow, but here’s a quick take on the rest of the first-round matchups, which begin tonight:


No. 2 Bruins-No. 7 Capitals:  Deeper defending Stanley Cup champs will rev it up, and I’m not sold on rookie G Braden Holtby, who will see a lot of traffic. Bruins in six.

No. 3 Panthers-No. 6 Devils:  This shook out just fine for the Jerseyites, who might face the Rangers in Round 2. Just haven’t been impressed with Florida---18 shootout losses and losers points---all season, while Devs are rounding into form. Kovalchuk, Parise, Brodeur should be the difference. Devils in five.

No. 4 Penguins-No. 5 Flyers:  If I wasn’t covering Rangers, this is the series to attend. Great storylines, a major test for Ilya Bryzgalov, the latest in a line of Flyers post-season goalie hopefuls. To say there’s bad blood is an understatement, and both teams will be battered. Penguins in seven.


No. 1 Canucks-No. 8  Kings: Jonathan Quick may steal a game or two, and Daniel Sedin is out for the early games, at least. Just don’t think there’s enough offense in Hollywood. Canucks in six.

No. 2  Blues-No. 7 Sharks:  It’s easy to overlook the Sharks and lean toward the Blues superior goaltending. St. Louis has some quality youngsters, too, and an edge behind the bench.  Blues in six.

No. 3 Coyotes-No. 6 Hawks: Big question here is in net. Mike Smith vs. Corey Crawford could be a wash, and the health of Jonathan Toews, for me, is the key. Hawks have the edge in skill.  Very, very tough to pick against maturing Yotes, but…Hawks in seven.

No. 4  Predators-No. 5 Wings: Like in the East with Pens-Flyers, this is the series I wouldn’t mind seeing in person. Older Wings have more experience, but have not been great on the road. Preds have goaltending and defensive studs in Weber and Suter. Preds in seven.

More Rangers