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Rosen's mailbag - April 30, 2015

by Dan Rosen / NHL.com

Here is the April 30 edition of Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run periodically throughout the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

Any chance Pavel Buchnevich gets signed by the Rangers to replace Mats Zuccarello. Chris Kreider 2012 all over again? -- @nyrgoal99

Nice thought, no chance.

I wouldn't expect the Rangers to bring Buchnevich in until the summer. Even if they sign him during the playoffs, they will not put him in the lineup.

In addition, the Rangers currently have 49 contracts and are in the market to sign goalie Matt O'Connor. That would put them at the 50 contract limit for this season, so that means there is no room for Buchnevich before the summer.

Is Corey Crawford back? Can the Blackhawks win the Cup this year with their goaltending? -- @ny1bullsfan

Crawford is back. He will start Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild on Friday.

I picked the Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup with the expectation that Crawford would be in goal. As great of a story as Scott Darling was in the first round, Crawford gives them the best chance to win the Cup. Since I picked them, I obviously think he can get it done.

A fresh start might be good for Crawford. Let's not forget he had 32 wins, a .924 save percentage and a 2.27 goals-against average in the regular season. Yes, I know the playoffs are a different animal and Crawford has had his ups and downs, but he's a legit No. 1 goalie, and I think he'll play like one against the Wild. At least that's my gut feeling.

Can the Rangers overcome the loss of Zuccarello and does Martin St. Louis have anything left in the tank? -- @DomVaruzza

Yes, they can overcome the loss of Zuccarello, and we're about to find out what St. Louis has left. I think St. Louis has enough left to help the Rangers overcome the loss of Zuccarello because he'll be put in a position to have better passes come his way from better playmakers. That's not a knock on Kevin Hayes and Carl Hagelin, but it's the truth that Derick Brassard and Rick Nash are better in the offensive zone, particularly in looking to set up St. Louis for his one-timer from the right circle. I think St. Louis will be a far more dangerous player with Brassard and Nash than he was with Hayes and Hagelin, and again, that's not an indictment on the latter pair.

Can Michal Rozsival/Kimmo Timonen survive the Wild's extreme pressure in the Blackhawks' defensive zone? What can the Blackhawks do to get Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook reunited? -- @SteveYatsushiro

I like the coaching move here by Joel Quenneville to separate Keith and Seabrook in order to play Keith with Rozsival and Seabrook with Timonen. I think the Blackhawks get more out of their top-six D by going in this direction. Putting Timonen and Rozsival together is a disaster waiting to happen because Timonen is slow and Rozsival is turnover prone. However, masking what would likely be a little-used third defense pair by putting them with all-star defensemen who can handle the load has a chance of balancing out the minutes, at least for the first two periods. Quenneville always can go back to a four-man or even a five-man rotation on defense, reuniting Keith and Seabrook, depending on the situation in the game.

Consensus picks seem to be Ducks over Flames, with most leaning toward five or six games. Do you think the Flames can take the series to seven? -- @BBSuns

I'm picking the Ducks and I think it'll be over in six, but one thing I've learned this season is to never doubt the Flames. It's unbelievable (I can't think of another word that fits) what they have done this season after the second period. They were plus-36 after the second period in the regular season and outscored the Vancouver Canucks 9-4 in the third period in the first round, resulting in comeback wins in Games 1 and 6. Anaheim is deeper and more experienced across the board and has better goaltending too, I think. That's why I'm picking the Ducks to win this in six. But to answer your question, yes, absolutely the Flames can get the series to seven. Heck, they can win it in seven or less. They've proven us wrong all season; no reason to think they can't again.

Biggest X-factor and who wins the series, Capitals vs. Rangers? -- @umpi89

I wrote on Tuesday that Martin St. Louis is the biggest X-factor in the series for the Rangers. Katie Brown wrote on Wednesday that Marcus Johansson is the biggest X-factor in the series for the Capitals.

Beyond players, I think this series comes down to the Rangers' speed vs. the Capitals' physicality. That's not to say the Rangers can't play physical and the Capitals can't play fast, but the bread and butter for these teams is well known. New York wins with speed that is as good as or better than every other team in the NHL; Washington wins by being heavy and leaning on the opponent so it wilts. The team that is better playing its style will win the series.

And since I always favor speed over physicality because speed can get you a goal when the opponent least expects it, I have the Rangers winning the series in seven games.

What's more surprising: Darling nearly leads Chicago to the second round, Craig Anderson takes over in Ottawa, or Devan Dubnyk leads the way for the Wild? -- @r0bertwaters

It's Darling for me. I never thought the Blackhawks would have to change goalies against the Nashville Predators, so clearly I was surprised when I saw Crawford struggle. I know he wasn't great in the playoffs last season, but I know how much Quenneville likes him and I thought he would answer the bell. He finally did, but they clearly needed Darling to be good, and he was.

I had a feeling that Ottawa Senators coach Dave Cameron would have a short leash on goalie Andrew Hammond because of Anderson's availability. It wasn't a surprise to me that Hammond struggled just because his run of success was such a small sample size. I also have come to expect Dubnyk to play well and be the difference for the Wild. He proved that through the second half of the season. He also played well in Arizona before getting traded. People tend to forget that.

Wild or Blackhawks? -- @ally_jolyn

Blackhawks in six. Don't yell at me if I'm wrong, or when I'm wrong.

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