Wednesday, April 11, 2007

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

In what maybe the biggest match up of the first round of the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins, lead by league leading scorer, 19-year old Sidney Crosby, will face of with the impressive Ottawa Senators.

Both teams have the big guns. Ottawa is second in the league in goals, the Penguins are fourth. Danny Heatley finished second in the league in goals, and is a constant goal-threat every shift he's on the ice. The Penguin's don't have a pure goal scorer to match Heatley, but with the puck on Crosby's stick, his teammates become so much more potent.

In only his second year as a starting goaltender, Ray Emery has posted a .918 save percentage with a 2.44 goals against average. At the other end of the ice Marc Andre Fleury has been somewhat inconsistent this season. The Penguins don't have a very dominant defense, they'll need Fleury to step up in this series.

The Penguin's lack playoff experience, but they also don't have the pressure on them the Senators do. Canadian hockey teams are always going to be held to a higher standard by their media. On the other hand, the Penguins came into this year after finishing 29th in the league. At best, they were considered a bubble team.

There is a very good chance that, if this series get's ugly, Chris Neil and either Jarko Ruutu or Georges Laraque will drop the gloves.

I can't pick against the Penguins, my strict upbringing won't allow it. I've got the Pens in 6.

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