Season series: Rangers, 2-1.
Difference-makers: With Boston's defense corps shredded by injuries, perennial all-star Zdeno Chara might have to log even more minutes than usual, if that's possible. Bruins LW Milan Lucic reclaimed his place among top power forwards with his 2-goal, 7-assist, 32-hit showing against Toronto in the first round. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist, the third goalie in playoff history to record shutouts in Games 6 and 7 of a series, isn't the only reason the Rangers beat Washington in Round 1, just the biggest. And bringing in that large forward from Columbus has really paid off for New York this spring, except that it's Derick Brassard, not Rick Nash.
Special teams: If power plays really can determine how a series plays out, this one might end in a tie. A scoreless tie. Boston converted 15 percent of its chances against Toronto; New York was just 2 for 28 with the man-advantage against Washington. The only hope for goals might be that neither short-handed unit sparkled in Round 1. The Bruins' success rate was 76.2 percent and New York checked in at 81.2.
Noteworthy: Boston must recover fast from punishment absorbed in a physical series against Toronto. ... New York blocked a league-high 161 shots, 24 by D Dan Girardi. ... Bruins C David Krejci was NHL's top scorer in Round 1 with 13 points.
Who will win: Rangers in six. Boston earned much respect for its historic Game 7 comeback against the Maple Leafs, but its beaten-up defense likely can't hold up for another full series.