These playoffs are going rather fast but regardless the 2013 NHL Eastern Conference Finals are here as the Boston Bruins will advance over the Pittsburgh Penguins in 6 games.
Here is why…
It took a game 7 overtime before Pittsburgh finally advanced to the semifinals to square off with Ottawa and it wasn’t even a test against this Penguins squad. So far the only opponent Pittsburgh has faced that gave them any competition were the New York Islanders.
The fact is this, if it weren’t for Evgeni Nabokov playing like garbage for the Islanders, Pittsburgh would have been eliminated in the first round of the 2013 NHL playoffs.
New York did everything Ottawa didn’t do against Pittsburgh. They got physical, and learned after game one NOT to give an inch. Well, Ottawa gave four inches and didn’t get physical nor get aggressive on the fore-check which made it very easy for the Penguins to get out of their end of the ice. Ottawa is still a young team and have a bright future though.
So why am I writing so much about the Penguins and their opponents?
I’m probably going to shoot myself in the foot for this but the Penguins’ depth is going to be needed in the Eastern finals against Boston. Tyler Kennedy and Pascal Dupuis have played well so far in the playoffs but let’s be real, they haven’t played against a good physical hitting team. They barely beat the Islanders and they had a walk in the park the last round. And there’s no reason why Pascal Dupuis should have 7 goals so far in the playoffs.
That all ends when they face off against Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Depth is key in this round like I mentioned earlier and looking at both rosters, Boston takes this category by a wide margin. Not to mention, they have the more physical team on all four lines.
Hitting causes turnovers which leads to scoring chances.
Boston’s fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton have been stellar, yes stellar with 13 combined points. And it’s all because of how physical they are getting on their opponents. Taking advantage of other teams 4th line guys, which they will do against the Penguins.
Boston and Pittsburgh line ups with combined points
(1) Lucic – Krejci – Horton = 39 points combined
(1) Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis = 34 combined points
(2) Marchand – Bergeron – Jagr = 20 combined points
(2) Neal – Malkin – Iginla = 38 combined points
(3) Peverley – Kelly – Seguin = 5 combined points
(3) Morrow – Suter – Cooke – 9 combined points
(4) Paille – Campbell – Thornton = 13 combined points
(4) Kennedy – Vitale – Adams = 7 combined points
Now of course coaches change up their lines throughout the game and I expect Dan Blysma to adjust his lines to play the match-up game against the Bruins. I mean, he better or else his team is going to see a quick exit out of the playoffs.
For the time being though by looking at the Bruins 4 lines, they have been for the majority the same lines Claude Julien has used throughout these playoffs. With that said he is going to have to find a way to slow down the line of Neal, Malkin and Iginla who have a combined 18 more points than his second line of Marchand, Bergeron and Jagr.
In my opinion, it starts with Jaromir Jagr stepping up his game against the team that drafted him. The last team these two teams met in the Eastern Conference finals, Jagr was playing for Pittsburgh where he eventually went on to win the Stanley Cup. This time he’s in Boston, deja vu?
Jagr has been doing everything right in the playoffs expect for burying the puck in behind the net. He’s still very strong on the puck and he can still pass the puck though the tiniest holes. Luckily for him as long as he’s matched up against the Penguins second line mentioned above he won’t feel too out of place squaring off with Jarome Iginla.
Boston has faced better goaltending so far and playing good Pucking Hockey
Another thing I would like to point out with these combined points stated above is that most of the Penguins, well all of the Penguins points were against an awful Nabokov and a weak Ottawa team who forgot how to get physical.
Boston on the other hand had to face a very good James Reimer and somehow avoided a game 7 loss in the first round. Then advanced to play the best goaltender in the league, Henrik Lundqvist.
If you think Pitt had the tougher road to the conference finals, you need to check your pucking head.
Boston Bruins vs Pittsburgh Penguins Eastern Conference Finals Prediction
Crosby is unbelievable there’s no denying that and I have grown to respect his game from what I used to think about him. Unfortunately for him and the Penguins I believe physicality will play a MAJOR role in this series match-up. And don’t expect Crosby to get to physical with that Darth Vader helmet of his.
From Boston’s first line to their last line, from their defense to their goaltending they are the deeper and stronger team. (something all females love by the way).
Tomas Vokoun will be tested in this series for the first time in the playoffs, and as long as Boston stays consistent they will chase him out and we may see Marc-Andre Felury back in net. Something no Pittsburgh fan wants to see, I hear you though, I have to deal with Ilya Bryzgalov.
I was all over New York when they knocked off, the team who I thought would win the Stanley Cup – Washington – but Boston proved me wrong. This time I back Boston and hope both teams lose somehow some way.
Boston Bruins to advance in 6 games
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