2010 NHL Playoffs: Pens v. Sens

Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs. Ottawa Senators (5)

If you are not going to listening to me on any series this would be the one. I will try to be objective, but I’m a Sens fan.

Pittsburgh is a good team with some top end talent. They have the best 1-2 punch in the league with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Marc-Andre Fleury was solid for the Pens in their Cup run last year and part of Canada’s gold-medal winning team.

But this doesn’t seem like the same team. Fleury has not been as solid; Malkin has battled some health issues and seen his numbers suffer; and Sergei Gonchar has missed time on the DL. In my opinion, Gonchar and the Pittsburgh defensive core will be the determining factor.

Crosby and Malkin are going to get some points, but Ottawa has a great defensive shutdown tandem with Phillips and Volchenkov along with some tough checking forwards that will make it more difficult. Another staple of Cory Clouston’s system is to maintain a strong forecheck. Aside from Gonchar, Pittsburgh could have difficulty moving the puck up to their forwards and get the breakout started.

The Sens have been a streaky team all year. They’ve either been really hot or cold. They have good depth up front, although losing Kovalev hurts, and a big, physical defense. Since returning from a injury after Christmas Jason Spezza has been tearing it up and showing the league that he doesn’t need Dany Heatley.

Coming off playing in his 1000th career game, Daniel Alfredsson is the key for the Sens. As long as he plays his usual complete game, the Sens will be in every game.

If I had to bet: Errrrrr……this is tough. My heart says the Sens can beat the Cup Champs. My brain wonders which Ottawa team will show up and whether they will maintain it for the entire series. Pittsburgh in 6, but I want give them 7.

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