Posted earlier on www.hockey-wire.com
This may just be about the most exciting series the playoffs have to offer. With both teams falling victim to the rule, that division winners take up the top three seeds, both squads found themselves a rank lower than what they should have and both with 105 points.
Regardless, these two teams are as close in retrospect and intangibles as possible. The season series between the two has Pittsburgh with the edge 3-1, two games of which went into overtime and another as the result of a last 10 second goal. The goals for and against are dead even at fifteen (15-15) apiece. The forwards of both teams equal out pretty evenly, with five on five going to the Senators and the Power play going the way of Pittsburgh.
Defensively, you would have to give the nod to Ottawa. Not only are they one of the highest scoring defensive core’s in the league, but they posses a rather strong shut down duo with Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov. The due of Redden and Meszaros will have to elevate their defensive game, if they hope to hold off the Penguins offensive prowess.
On the other side of the coin, the Penguins are rather thin after Gonchar and Whitney. The remaining four d-men will be called upon to play above and beyond their expectations.
When reviewing the goaltenders, if Ray Emery can continue to play as he has through the regular season, it will be tough for the Pittsburgh Penguins to take this series. No one knows what to expect with regards to Marc-André Fleury, but if he fails the task at hand, they will not waste time going to Jocelyn Thibeault. He has had some success against this Ottawa squad I the past.
Without a doubt, this is going to be an amazingly fast series. The key’s to the Penguins game has to be the fore check and relentless pursuit to the net. On the other hand, Ottawa must remain out of the box. The Penguins power play has killed the Sens the past three meetings. If they manage to stay clear of powerplay trouble, the Sens will win in five or six.
Prediciton: Sens in five