Friday, April 30, 2010
Penguins Playoff Game Day 7 - Conference Semifinals vs. Montreal Canadians
Well here we finally are. After a while off the Penguins are back in action in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A few days ago you were getting ready to hear the Bruins fans get their false hope up because Marc Savard and his 100 concussions was coming back. Then the Canadians just pretty much put the smackdown on the Caps.
While watching the Capitals fail miserably was awesome there is also a flip side to that. The Penguins will have to beat the red hot Jaroslav Halak in goal for the Habs. Dude basically won games five, six AND seven for the Canadians so he will be a force. You have to think how he is going to hold up. I know it has been talked about that he loves to face a lot of rubber but you can't win consistently giving up 50+ shots on net a game. No two ways about that.
Can Halak steal two series himself? Sure he can, but that is highly unlikely, in my humble opinion. The Penguins bring a much different style of game than do the Capitals. The Penguins are not afraid to cause some traffic and work hard in the corners for the puck, the Capitals do not do those things, so this will be a totally different series.
USS will be huge for Montreal. Can he shut down Bing like he did OV? I guess we will see.
Looks like Kunitz will be back for the Penguins after missing some practice time. Should be around the same lineup for the Penguins. Not sure if TK is going to be in the lineup but if he is not then I fully expect Conner to be in his place. Conner did a nice job in the finale of the Ottawa series, he will be fine.
The first game will be huge, as will the "home ice advantage." Home ice has meant nothing so far in the NHL playoffs and the Habs won three of four games in the Verizon Center. If the Penguins can come out and take game one it will kind of send the message to Montreal that this isn't going to be like Washington and probably put that doubt in an undermanned team.
PK is going to have to come up huge. The Montreal PP is as good as it gets. Second best in the NHL if I am remembering right during the regular season and that is how they got to Washington. They got early PP goals in the first period and built off that. The Pens PK has been pretty solid so that will be a huge match up. If the Penguins stay disciplined against Ottawa so if they continue that they will be fine.
My prediction: Pens in five.