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Playoff Preview
(1) Kitchener vs. (1) Belleville

Series Synopsis:

Apr. 29th, 2008

The Rangers and Bulls are a pair of teams that have gone through most of the first three rounds of the post-season with a regular lurking in the shadows.  For the Bulls it was forward: Shawn Matthias who earlier in the calendar year teamed up with the Rangers' Matt Halischuk to score one of the most memorable goals in World Junior Championship history, Matthias is rumoured to be out with mono.  On the Rangers side, a giant has taken a backseat since mid-way through the second round, but with the way that Josh Unice has been playing, perhaps most-missed for their contribution to the team is defender: Dan Kelly.

The Rangers' strength has been that they have been rolling their forward lines in order to constantly hit the ice with energy.  The same could not always be said about the blueline.  Kelly's re-emergence gives the Rangers and ability to pair 6 blueliners something that should really come handy while on the big ice in Belleville.  The big ice, in a rare instance this year, should be an advantage for the road team, a Rangers' team not overly familiar with the Olympic-sized ice, but a team that's built for blinding speed.

The Bulls, much like the Rangers have been assembled for this season, forwards Adam Perry and Jan Mursak were brought in via trade-winds, and one member of the Sudbury Wolves responsible for the demise of the Bulls during last post-season: Andrew Self was picked up as a free-agent overager.  Nigel Williams was included in the trade that brought the Bulls Jan Mursak, he's slick veteran defender.

The Bulls may have one of the best all-around defenders in the league in P.K. Subban, Subban has a deadly shot from the point, arguably more dangerous than either: Josh Godfrey or Ryan Wilson whom the Rangers' faced in the last two rounds.

While the team's appear to be a dead-heat between the posts, the Rangers appear to have an advantage on the blueline, in a series where speed will be paramount and line changes often, the Rangers utilize their third defensive unit more and Belleville may get caught overly dependent on their top four defenders, especially when they do not have last change.

The Rangers might find scoring against the Bulls, difficult despite their fortunes against the Greyhounds, Belleville may experience the same after running into an often irratic Oshawa team in the previous round.


Finish: 1st
Regular Season record: 53-11-1-3
Head-to-head record: 2-0-0-0

Finish: 1st
Regular Season record: 48-14-4-2
Head-to-head record: 0-2-0-0
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
Matt Beleskey 62 41 49 90
Adam Perry 68 32 48 80
Shawn Matthias 53 32 47 79
Bryan Cameron 68 41 37 78
Jan Mursak 57 17 47 64

Netminding (Top 2 Active goalies)
 

Player GP W-L-OTL Avg Sv%
Mike Murphy 49 36-7-3-1 2.24 .929
Parker V.Buskirk 21 13-7-0-0 3.15 .892
Playoff top scorers
 
Player GP G A P
Justin Azevedo 13 6 21 27
Matt Halischuk 13 13 12 25
Nick Spaling 13 9 14 23
Mikkel Boedker 13 7 15 22
Nazem Kadri 13 6 13 19
Mike Duco 13 12 3 15

Netminding
 

Player GP W-L Avg
Steve Mason 5 5-0 1.92
Josh Unice 9 7-1 2.08
Playoff top scorers
 
Player GP G A P
Matt Beleskey 14 8 14 22
Jan Mursak 14 8 11 19
P.K. Subban 14 6 10 16
Adam Perry 14 6 9 15
Andrew Self 14 5 9 14
Nigel Williams 14 5 7 12

Netminding
 

Player GP W-L Avg
Parker VanBuskirk 1 1-0 0.00
Mike Murphy 14 11-2 2.02