1. Pittsburgh Penguins v 7. Ottawa Senators
This should be a tense affair after all the controversy generated from the incident in the regular season on February 13 where Matt Cooke’s blade sliced Erik Karlsson’s achilles tendon. This was accidental to most people but deliberate to those involved with the Senators. Matt Cooke should expect a hostile reception when the series moves to Ottawa for Game 3.
The Penguins are stacked with offensive talent in the form of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla and Pascal Dupuis who with defenceman Kris Letang have contributed heavily to the Penguins goals, Malkin and Crosby and 2nd and 3rd in points scorers for the playoffs. However, despite having all this talent to make a run at the Cup the New York Islanders presented them with a sterner than expected challenge which shows that they are not the unbeatable force they were talked up to be before the playoffs began.
Ottawa won a vicious series against the Montreal Canadiens, in Game 3 there were 236 penalty minutes illustrating the tension between the two. Ottawa were not rattled by this, the Canadies seem like they were affected, and this shows that their playoff experience of last year has developed them. This year they have lost key players during the regular season in Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson and it was thought that they would not make the playoffs as a result. They introduced new talent and in their resilience made it in, grabbing the number 7 seed. In goal tender Craig Anderson they have one of the best goal tenders in the league.
This could become a battle between the Pens much vaunted attack and Craig Anderson. Ottawa are a good side who will make it tough for the Pens and this should make for a good series that may take 6 games.
Verdict: Pittsburgh Penguins
4. Boston Bruins v 6. New York Rangers
Both of these Original 6 teams came through a Game 7 on Monday night to qualify for the second round of the play offs.
Boston looked out of it when trailing 4-1 late in the third period of Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs but came back to win in Over Time.
New York were 3-2 down in their series against the Washington Capitals but managed two shut outs in Games 6 and 7 to advance.
This series could be a very physical encounter with two sides who like to play on the edge. New York are a very defensive side who will be looking to shut down David Krejc, points leader with 13 in Round 1, and Milan Lucic who is joint 4th with the Rangers Derrick Brassard in points on 9.
There is a city rivalry between the two that exists in all sports which should add more to the series.
Both these sides will be appreciative of getting here after seven games in Round 1, there team that makes the conference final may be doing so in seven too.
Verdict: New York Rangers