Game 2-Boston Bruins vs Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center, Monday June 3rd 7pm NBCSN
Game 3-Pittsburgh Penguins vs Boston Bruins at TD Bank Garden, Wednesday June 5th 7pm NBCSN
Game 4-Pittsburgh Penguins vs Boston Bruins at TD Bank Garden, Friday June 7th 7 pm NBCSN
Game 5-Boston Bruins vs Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center, Sunday June 9th 8pm NBCSN (If Necessary)
Game 6-Pittsburgh Penguins vs Boston Bruins at TD Bank Garden, Tuesday June 11th TBA NBCSN (If Necesssary)
Game 7-Boston Bruins vs Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center, Wednesday June 12th TBA NBCSN (If Necessary)
All Times are Central Time
Season Series- The Penguins won all three matchups this season
The Penguins loaded up at the trade deadline and it paid off especially when Sidney Crosby was lost for an extended period of time. Crosby made it back in time for the playoffs where the Penguins struggled at times with the New York Islanders until they replaced Marc-Andre Fleury with Tomas Vokoun. The move settled down their defense and the goalie position and enabled the Penguins to finish off the Islanders. The Ottawa Senators were suppose to be able to slow down the Penguins in the Conference Semi-finals but they hardly gave them a series. The Penguins put on an all-star clinic that had the Senators captain mumbling how they were too deep to come back and beat the Penguins. The Penguins have veterans that are hungry for their first Stanley Cup including long time Calgary Flames star Jarome Iginla. Ironically it was the Bruins that thought they had a trade done with the Flames originally on the eve of the trade deadline only to wake up to see that he was now a proud new member of the Penguins organization.
The Backstop- Vokoun which is surely not a strength. If the Penguins lose this series it will be the goalie position that falters for them.
The X Factor- You can pick star after star on this team but the X Factor may be Brooks Oprik and will he be able to crunch the Bruins offensive stars and keep them away from Vokoun.
The Bruins faced a 4-1 deficit in Game #7 in the opening round of the playoffs and found a way to come back and win the game in overtime. They struggled and dominated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening series. That would not be the case against the New York Rangers who they steamrolled in the 2nd round as they sent them to the golf course and their coach to the unemployment line. The Bruins are very similar to the Penguins that their head scratching weakness is between the pipes in Tuukka Rask who’s bad play prevented a 2nd round sweep. The Bruins will need to give Rask plenty of help while trying to keep up with the Penguins on the scoreboard. History is not on the side of the Bruins with the last two times these two franchises have met in the playoffs it’s been in the Conference Finals with the Penguins advancing both times to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Backstop- Tuukka Rask can be really good or very bad. Rask will be the reason or the excuse the Bruins don’t make it to the Finals
The X Factor-Torey Krug is having a dream start to his playoff career, can he become an even bigger folk hero.
Our Friend Billy Bryson from the Fansided Boston Bruins site Causeway Crowd had this insight on the Bruins chance to knock off the Penguins.
“I honestly don’t know where to start when it comes to the havoc the Pittsburgh Penguins are about to unleash on the Boston Bruins. They are pretty close to an all star team and some refer to them as “the Miami Heat” of the NHL.
The penguins are stacked and will present all sorts of matchup problems for the Bruins. However the B’s are pretty deep themselves, especially at center but Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are arguably the two best centers/ hockey players in the world. Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and company will have their hands full trying to match up with Crosby and Malkin. Don’t bring your A game every shift against these guys and they’ll make you pay in one way or another. Both just phenomenal and shutting them down is something the B’s will have to do if they hope to advance to their 2nd Stanley cup finals appearance in 3 seasons.
On defense I think the Penguins can be had but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a weakness. Kris Letang and Paul Martin can hurt you on the score board and with their break out passes, while Brooks Orpik and Douglas Murray can punish you all night and make the rink feel very very small. So while I think they can be worn down, that doesn’t mean they will be and the Penguins defense has risen to the occasion so far this playoffs.
Tomas Vokoun took over in net for Marc-Andre Fleury and has given the Penguins some solid goaltending which they’ve desperately been seeking in the playoffs recently. He’s been very good for them and the Bruins will have to get plenty of bodies and pucks to the net if they hope to beat Vokoun. He’s no Lundqvist and the Bruins tore Hank apart, however Lundqvist didn’t have the offense support that Vokoun will likely get every night.
Lastly, the penguins are very deep and very experienced. Guys like Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Brendan Morrow and Jarome Iginla fill out their roster. These guys bring veteran leadership, physicality and they can finish. The Bruins depth will no doubt be tested in a way it hasn’t yet this playoff run. They’ll need every player on their roster to contribute if they hope to beat the pens and move on.” (Thanks again Billy for the insight)
Prediction- The Penguins are the all-star team but the Bruins have stared Elimination in the face and survived, and with that experience the Bruins will win the series in 6 games.
What is your prediction for the Eastern Conference Finals?