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Playoff Preview
(1) Kitchener vs. (6) Sarnia

Series Synopsis:

March 30th, 2008

It's a repeat of last year's postseason, just in reverse order, the Rangers swept the Sarnia Sting, prior to their encounter with the Whalers last season, this year, it's the other way around.  Between the two teams are missing 5 of their top four leading scorers from the previous season.  Gone are: Tomas Pospisil, Trevor Kell, Craig Voakes, Kevin Henderson and Steve Downie who led all scorers in the first round with 12 points over the four game sweep.  Justin Azevedo's name appears at the top of the regular season point list and though he only has one playoff marker it's there again in the post-season.  The Sting also have to worry about a sneak attack look of Azevedo's scoring prowess, Azevedo tallied 7 goals in only four regular season games against the Sting.

The regular season, unlike some regular season series could prove to be a somewhat accurate portrayal of what may happen in the post-season as the Rangers and Sting played with relatively complete lineups, without the interuptions of the World Junior Championships.

Kitchener doubled-up the Sting in all of their regular season games, including one empty-net goal.  Both teams acquired prized netminders in and around the trade deadline: Steve Mason and Andrew Perugini have faced each other in the two games since the deadline.  The Rangers swept the season series, and have not lost a game to the Sting since early in the 2006-'07 season, when the Sting picked up a road win in Kitchener.  The tally at this time is 11th consecutive Rangers' wins.

Steven Stamkos was virtually unstoppable during the first round against Windsor, but against the Rangers developing more secondary scoring will be key for the Sting.  The obvious keys for the Sting is trying to get pucks past Steve Mason and finding some way to slow (perhaps stopping isn't an option) the Rangers top unit of Azevedo-Halischuk-Spaling.

Defender: Mark Katic returned late in the first round, and appears to be 100% healthy after injuring his shoulder in a nationally televised game against the Rangers in Sarnia.  Dan Kelly, who was injured in the following week in Guelph, continues to be out of the Rangers' lineup and no time-table has been set for his return.

Click Here to see all of the Rangers player stats head-to-head for the 2007-2008 season
Click Here to see all of the Sting player stats head-to-head for the 2007-2008 season


Finish: 1st
Regular Season record: 53-11-1-3
Head-to-head record: 4-0-0-0

Finish: 6th
Regular Season record: 37-29-2-0
Head-to-head record: 0-4-0-0
Top 5 Regular Season Scorers:
 
Player GP G A P
Justin Azevedo 67 43 81 124
Mikkel Boedker 62 29 44 73
Nick Spaling 56 38 34 72
Nazem Kadri 68 25 40 65
Matt Halischuk 40 13 46 59

Netminding (Top 2 Active goalies)
 
Player GP W-L-OTL Avg Sv%
Steve Mason* 16 13-3-0-0 2.06 .915
Josh Unice 42 30-6-1-2 2.45 .908

Top 5 Regular Season Scorers:
 
Player GP G A P
Steven Stamkos 61 58 47 105
Justin DiBenedetto 58 39 54 93
Ryan Wilson 58 7 64 71
Vladimir Nikiforov 51 25 42 67
Devin DiDiomete 56 23 33 56

Netminding (Top 2 Active goalies)
 

Player GP W-L-OTL Avg Sv%
Andrew Perugini 25 16-8-0-0 2.95 .918
Tomi Karhunen 39 18-18-2-1 3.59 .891
Head-to-Head top scorers
 
Player GP G A P
Justin Azevedo 4 7 4 11
Mikkel Boedker 4 3 4 7
Matt Halischuk 3 1 5 6
Nick Spaling 4 2 3 5
Yannick Weber 4 1 2 3
Scott Timmins 3 1 1 2

Netminding (head-to-head)
 

Player GP W-L Avg
Steve Mason* 2 2-0 2.00
Josh Unice 1 1-0 3.00
* indicates only stats from Rangers only
Head-to-Head top scorers
 
Player GP G A P
Ryan Wilson 4 1 4 5
Justin DiBenedetto 4 1 2 3
Steven Stamkos 4 1 2 3
Steve Ferry 4 0 3 3
Devin DiDiomete 3 2 0 2
Daniel Lombardi 3 1 1 2

Netminding (head-to-head)
 

Player GP W-L Avg
Andrew Perugini 2 0-2 4.00
Tomi Karhunen 2 0-2 4.50
* indicates only stats from Sting only
Top Remaining Scorers from 2007 Playoffs (head-to-head)
 
Player GP G A P
Justin Azevedo 4 3 5 8
Matt Halischuk 4 3 1 4
Nick Spaling 4 2 2 4
Yannick Weber 4 1 3 4
Robert Bortuzzo 4 1 2 3
Top Remaining Scorers from 2007 Playoffs (head-to-head)
 
Player GP G A P
Steven Stamkos 4 3 3 6
Mark Katic 4 1 3 4
Ryan Wilson 4 1 3 4
Justin DiBenedetto 4 2 1 3
Steve Ferry 4 0 1 1