New York Rangers Blueshirt Beat, 4/27/17: Game 1 is Here, Derick Brassard Calls Matchup 'Special'
Mar 11, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Ottawa Senators center Derick Brassard (19) in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. The Senators won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, it’s time for the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators to drop the puck on Game 1. Derick Brassard calls the matchup “special.”

  • New York Rangers (0-0)
  • Ottawa Senators (0-0)
  • Stanley Cup Playoffs, Round 2
  • Game 1, Thurs., Apr. 27, 7 p.m. ET, CNBC
  • Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Canada

Fear not, Rangerstown. After several days off, your New York Rangers are finally back to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Now that they disposed of the Montreal Canadiens in six games, Alain Vigneault and company will welcome in the other Canadian team left in the eastern conference, the Ottawa Senators.

A huge storyline heading into Game 1 is that of Mika Zibanejad and Derick Brassard squaring off against each other. Better yet, because they’re both centers, they’ll likely see each other on the ice at the same time, battling head-to-head in the faceoff circle, even.

New York Rangers

The two were traded for one another last summer, but the Sens new center understands what’s truly at stake, via Stats LLC.

“It’s not about me and Mika,” the Senators center said after Wednesday’s practice, referring to Rangers center Mika Zibanejad — the player he was traded to Ottawa for last summer. “There are other guys on the teams. It’s about the 23 guys on both rosters.”

“There’s always pressure,” said Brassard, who led the Rangers in postseason scoring three of the last four springs and now has 20 goals and 52 points in 65 playoff games. “I think I can handle it pretty well. I’ve always showed up on the big stage.

While he towed the company line early, he did concede later on in claiming the matchup was “special,” according to Lisa Wallace of CBS Sports.

“It’s going to be special and I’m just planning on not changing anything and doing what I do best, but it is a little more special than usual,” Brassard said. “We have a goal as a team and right now they’re in the way. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Rangers or any other team around the league I’m going to try and do our best to try and advance.”

Nobody expects Alain Vigneault to change the lineup one bit after beating the Habs three straight times once young Pavel Buchnevich was inserted into the lineup in favor of Tanner Glass.

Rangers Stories and News:

  • Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post discusses how the Rangers went from a big underdog in the first round to now a large Vegas favorite against the Sens.
  • Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Citizen calls the Senators “another tough opponent” the Blueshirts will need to handle.
  • Joe Fortunado of Blueshirt Banter gives us three reasons to be optimistic heading into the second round.
  • Larry Brooks of the New York Post believes the Rangers must maintain the physical play we saw against Montreal if they have any designs on making it through to the eastern conference finals.
  • Steve Zipay of Newsday lists the keys of the series.
  • ESNY’s Chris Wengert analyzes the goaltending matchup between Henrik Lundqvist and Craig Anderson.
  • The boys of Real Talk Rangers previews the series ahead.

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