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25 April 2007

Interview with Inferno272 from (Series Preview)

Here is Inferno272's perspective from Rangers Review on the upcoming Rangers-Sabres series.

What do you expect to be the four forward lines, and the 3 defensive pairs?
The Rangers will likely change up their lines slightly from what we saw against the Thrashers. I also feel these lines will NOT be the same every game, I expect most of the bench to get to play as far as the forwards go.



What are the expected powerplay and penalty kill combinations, and how do you feel your team will matchup against the other team in these aspects?
This may be how this series is won.
Despite the Sabres tremendous offensive firepower, I feel their game is best suited for 5 on 5 or 4 on 4 rather than 5 on 4 situations.
The reason for that, I feel, is because they feed off of transition, and rushes. Generally speaking you don’t rush your way to a goal on the power play as the bluelines tend to be stacked. Instead you have to methodically set up plays.
This is where the Rangers can truly shine, or truly lay an egg.
It all depends on which team shows up.Here are the PowerPlay combinations you should expect to see.
The Rangers play 2 different units and split their time 50/50.

Here is what I expect you to see:

Passing Power Play:Prucha-Nylander-JagrStraka-Rozsival
Shooting Power Play:Hossa-Avery-ShanahanCullen/Rachunek-Mara

How do you expect the goaltending matchup to shake out? How confident would you be if your main goalie went out and your backup had to take over?
This is simple.
If Henrik utterly dominates the game, as he is capable of doing, we will win this series. If he is even slightly off, we could be swept.
Henrik is the best goalie in the league right now. I know a lot of people will point to Luongo, or Brodeur.
The fact is, they haven’t seen Henrik. Henrik, dollar for dollar might be playing the best hockey he has ever played in his career right now.
The pucks must look like beachballs, 90mph slappers must look like 15 mph shankers.

He's just on.

However we have seen him go ice cold from time to time, and when that happens, the Rangers get obliterated.
As far as our 2 backups go…If Henrik is hurt, or for some other reason is unable to perform, you could put Kevin Weekes AND Stephen Valiquette in there at the same time, and we would still lose.
Not that the Sabres are that good (though they are), it's that our backups are that bad.

What is the one aspect of the team that could single-handedly win the series?
Puck possession.

If we have it, you don’t, and we win.
If you have it, we are dead.
It's that simple. As we saw in the series against the Islanders, when the opposing team can force the Sabres to play their game, to slow the pace down, then the Sabres are more than beatable. However if the Sabres can dictate the pace, and if they have the puck for long stretch, there are few teams in history that can light the lamp the way this team does.Jaromir Jagr is going to have to be a beast.
The first line will have to hold and control the play for minutes on end, for the Sabres to dump and chance, and let our other lines do the same. If the first line is unable to do so, a transition war will occur, and you guys will annihilate us.

What could be the team’s Achilles heel this series?
But not the discipline we always talk about.
I am not talking about which team takes the fewer penalties.
I am talking about players staying on assignments, about players not pinching at inopportune times, about not turning the puck over with three men are trapped behind the play.
If the Rangers can stay disciplined in that manner, they can win.

Which player is going to step up unexpectedly to win a game or two?
I don’t think it will be 1 player, I think it will be 1 line.
I think the third line for the Rangers is going to be huge in this one.
Although the Sabres third line is about as good as most teams first line, I think the Rangers third line could give them a run for their money.
The Sabres win because they send wave after wave against you,
I think the Rangers can, and will do the same. Expect big things from Prucha, Cullen and Callahan.

The game is on the line. Who do you want to have the puck?
Jaromir Jagr.
Seriously, would you expect me to say anything else?
There is a reason this guy is widely considered the best player in the league since Mario Lemieux retired.
Because he flat out is. Jaromir Jagr is a beast, he is almost impossible to knock off the puck, and shows Gretzky like vision at times. 32 seconds into game 3, he did a tape to tape pass between 3 Thrashers to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead, and ultimately the series.

How do you feel about the coaching matchup?
If you had asked me this, even just a few weeks ago, I would have said the Sabres held an overwhelming advantage here.
Tom Renney just does so many things that make you scratch your head, that you often have to question his sanity.
However it is tough to argue with the results of the past few months.
You guys wouldn’t have any respect for me if I continued to trash him when the results are actually there, so I will do no such thing. I would call this an advantage for the Sabres, but not by that much. Ruff is a helluva coach, with the kind of fire I wish Renney had.

What 1 or 2 players do you fear from the opponent most?
Chris Drury and Daniel Briere.
These guys are Ranger killers to the nth degree, and won’t show us any merch here.
They can torch our slow defensemen with superb speed to the outside, and they are uber-clutch.
They scare me.

Do you expect this to be an overly physical, rough, or dirty series?
Not unless Avery gets into your heads.
If he does, I expect the Sabres to try to take liberties against him.
If that happens, you can schedule more playoff games for the Rangers, and Sabres fans should look forward to next year.

Without getting too detailed, give us your predictions for this series.
My head is telling me Sabres in 5.
My heart is telling me Rangers in 6. This time, I am going with my heart.
Rangers in 6. While the Sabres offense may be relentless, their defense has some swiss cheese sized holes in it, and Ryan Miller is not even close to being in Henrik Lundqvists league.
The question is, will our D stop you more than your D stops us. My heart tells me yes. Rangers in 6.

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