8:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Well after a more than a week layoff for the Penguins and a week layoff for the Bruins I guess now is as good a time as ever to start the playoffs, right? While the Western Conference finished the conference semifinals on Wednesday night they are able to start before the Easter Conference who has been done forever. Sure, it is only starting three hours earlier but what on Earth is the NHL thinking with this third rate scheduling? No idea.
Anyways this is going to be one hell of a series. The Penguins and the Bruins are the two best teams in the Eastern Conference and they are meeting for a chance to play in the Stanley Cup Finals. Normally you don't always get the best two teams from the regular season in the conference finals but this year we do and it is going to be really awesome.
There are going to be unlimited story lines for this series ranging from the Zdeno Chara pairing against either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin to the Crosby line going against Patrice Bergeron who has been as shut down as you get from the center position to the overplayed Matt Cooke line. This series has a lot of star power and while the Penguins won the season series that means nothing know. All of those games were one goal games and all it takes to take a win to a loss in a bounce here or there and in the playoffs you never know when that will happen and if that will swing the momentum in the series.
I expect that this series is going to be one that is tight checking and close the entire time. I don't really expect either team to come out and really run away with any of these games and that is going to be awesome. This is what the playoffs should be about and while I want the Penguins to get the sweep I realize that this isn't the Carolina Hurricanes of 2009. This series is going to come down to who does the little things well and who can roll out four lines consistently.
The Penguins are a deep team, but so are the Bruins. This is going to be fun to watch. It will also be wildly frustrating, but fun.
Pittsburgh (8-3 in playoffs)
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Jarome Iginla - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Brandon Sutter - Tyler Kennedy
Brenden Morrow - Jussi Jokinen - Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Kris Letang - Matt Niskanen
Mark Eaton - Douglas Murray
Boston (8-4 in playoffs) (via Dailyfaceoff)
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Jaromir Jagr
Rich Peverley - Chris Kelly - Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski - Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Season Series (Pittsburgh won 3-0-0)
April 20, 2013 - Pittsburgh 3, Boston 2
March 17, 2013 - Pittsburgh 2, Boston 1 March 12, 2013 - Pittsburgh 3, Boston 2