TODAY'S PAPER
Overcast 54° Good Evening
Overcast 54° Good Evening
SportsHockeyRangers

Rangers vs. Senators NHL playoffs series primer

New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei skates during practice

New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei skates during practice at the MSG Training Center on Wednesday, April 26, 2017. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

HOW’D THEY GET HERE?

The Senators eliminated the Bruins, 4-2; four games went to overtime. The Rangers rallied to win three straight games and ousted the Canadiens, 4-2

WHO’S NEXT?

The winner of this series advances to the Eastern Conference Final, against the survivor of the Penguins-Capitals series

THE ROOKS

Rangers

Brady Skjei, 23, had two goals and was a plus-4 against Montreal after a very strong regular season (5-34-39) for the 6-3 defenseman from Minnesota.

Jimmy Vesey, 23, the left wing who won the 2016 Hobey Baker Award at Harvard, had 16 goals and 11 assists in 80 games.

Pavel Buchnevich, 22, the Russian forward who missed 25 games with back issues, had eight goals and 12 assists in 41 games.

Senators

Ben Harpur, 22, is a 6-6, 222-pound defender who can fill a role in Guy Boucher’s structure.

Fredrik Claesson, a 24-year-old defenseman, was 3-8-11 during the season.

THE BACKUPS

Should goalies Henrik Lundqvist or Craig Anderson need relief or be injured, the teams have very capable subs. Here’s who would step in:

Rangers: Antti Raanta

Raanta, 27, who is from Finland and previously played for Chicago, was 16-8-2 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

Senators: Mike Condon

Condon, 26, from Needham, Massachusetts, previously played for Montreal and Pittsburgh. He was 19-14 with a 2.50 GAA and .914 save percentage.

COACHES TALE OF THE TAPE

Alain Vigneault / Guy Boucher

Birthplace: Quebec City / Notre-Dame-du-Lac, Quebec

Age: 55 / 45

Playing position: Defenseman / Right wing

Previous head coaching experience: Montreal (1997-2000), Vancouver (2006-13) / Tampa Bay (2010-13)

Playoff record: 66-67 / 15-9

Years with current team: 4 / 1

2016-17 record: 48-28-6 / 44-28-10

Game style: Speed, quick passes / Patience, neutral zone trap

Intangibles: Jack Adams Award (best coach), 2007 / Masters, sports psychology, University of Montreal

CONNECTIONS

First, the two familiar ones: Mika Zibanejad played parts of five seasons with the Senators (2011-16). Derick Brassard played parts of four seasons with the Rangers (2012-16).

Matt Puempel played parts of three seasons with Ottawa (2014-17) after being selected by the Senators in the first round (24th overall) of the 2011 Entry Draft.

Ottawa’s Viktor Stalberg played one season with the Rangers (2015-16).

Alain Vigneault’s first coaching staff position in the NHL was as an assistant coach with the Senators. He was a member of Ottawa’s staff for parts of four seasons (1992-96).

Ottawa’s Alexandre Burrows was coached by Vigneault for seven seasons with the Vancouver Canucks (2006-07-2012-13)

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion was an amateur scout with the Rangers for two seasons (2005-07).

IS IT OTTAWA OR KANATA?

Games 1 and 2, and 5 and 7, if necessary, will be played at Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, a suburb about 15 miles west of downtown Ottawa, off Highway 417, known as the Queensway. That’s only a few miles farther than from Manhattan to Citi Field but can take 30-plus minutes by car.

It was the site of the 2007 Stanley Cup Final (won by the Anaheim Ducks in five games) and the last game Wayne Gretzky played in Canada on April 15, 1999. Gretzky played 23:09 and didn’t get a point. Adam Graves and Brian Leetch scored as the Rangers tied the Senators, 2-2

The multipurpose arena, which seats 18,694 for hockey, opened in January 1996 as The Palladium, and a month later when the naming rights were sold, became Corel Centre. It was renamed Scotiabank Place from 2006 to 2013.

In April 2014, a bid backed by the Senators was chosen for the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats, a mostly vacant downtown tract near the Ottawa River. The $3.5-billion proposal includes a new NHL arena, apartments, hotels, shops and other projects. Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said in March he hoped negotiations would conclude by the end of this year.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS, GAME 1

RANGERS

FORWARDS

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Pavel Buchnevich

Jimmy Vesey-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

J.T. Miller-Kevin Hayes-Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast

DEFENSE

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Nick Holden

Brady Skjei-Brendan Smith

GOALIE

Henrik Lundqvist

SENATORS

FORWARDS

Ryan Dzingel-Kyle Turris-Alexandre Burrows

Viktor Stalberg-Derick Brassard- Bobby Ryan

Mark Stone-Zach Smith -Mike Hoffman

Clarke MacArthur-Jean-Gabriel Pageau-Tom Pyatt

DEFENSE

Marc Methot-Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf-Cody Ceci

Ben Harpur-Chris Wideman/Fredrik Claesson

GOALIE

Craig Anderson

New York Sports