May 13, 2012, 7:51 PM EDT
On paper, facing the two bottom seeds in your conference would theoretically mean that you could cruise to the conference finals. Instead, the New York Rangers needed all 14 games to put down the Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators through two rounds.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils efficiently handled the Philadelphia Flyers in five games after a seven-game battle against the Florida Panthers. Some might believe that the Devils will carry a significant freshness edge, but Rangers star Brad Richards isn’t concerned.
“I mean, first two series, you don’t really think about it like that … but we’re just halfway,” Richards said. “We’re a young team. We should be excited and energetic going into this. I don’t think anybody is going to be tired.”
Meanwhile, the rest vs. rust factor flip flops for the Devils. They faced the Flyers just days after beating the Panthers in overtime of Game 7 and while it seemingly showed as they wore down in Game 1 against Philly, New Jersey won the next four games. Now they’ll have the advantage of resting older and banged up players at the possible loss of momentum.
Which team do you think will be at an advantage as the series begins on Monday?
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