Mack – Senators
Elaine – Penguins
The Ottawa Senators are heading into the second round of the playoffs with tons of momentum. They beat the second seed Montreal Canadiens in game 5 with a commanding 6-1 victory to close out the series 4 to 1. The whole team contributed, but most of the help came from goaltender Craig Anderson. He kept them in it at times when it looked like the team was ready to give up. Habs talked a lot of smack during the series, especially after the antics of game 3 (line brawl and last minute timeout by coach of the year candidate, Paul MacLean), which I believe positively helped the Senators. Sens will be facing a scary Penguins team who have a whole lot of offensive firepower, though historically Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have not fared well while facing the Senators, with Crosby having his worst point total against the Senators, and Malkin having his fourth worst. Thomas Vokoun is starting the series out after Fleury had a string of bad starts. Both Penguin goaltenders are shaky, and both are beatable.
Record Going into the Playoffs
Sens: 25 – 17 – 6
Pens: 36 – 12 – 0
Last Second Round Appearance
Sens: The last time the Senators were in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was in 2007, en route the finals. They has just beaten the young and energetic Penguins in the first round by a series score of 4 to 1 and moved on to bigger and better things (literally), the New Jersey Devils. They also won that series 4 to 1.
Pens: The Penguins haven’t been seen the Conference Semifinals since the Montreal Canadiens beat them in the 2009-2010 season
Sens: The Senators went all year with a depleted lineup, missing Karlsson, Spezza, Michalek, Cowen and Anderson all for extended parts of the 2013 campaign. Since coming back from the playoffs this young team has been very healthy, with the only player with an injury being Jason Spezza who is expected to be inserted into the lineup by game 3, the first game at home. The last time he played was January 27th, against the Penguins.
Pens: The Penguins are somehow the healthiest team in the world, with no players expected to miss the game due to injury. Crosby is still wearing a face shield from the jaw injury he sustained in April.
Keys to Winning
1. The Senators must shut down Sidney Crosby in order to have any chance. Hit him hard, and hit him often. They’ll need to throw the whole team off their game and the way to do that is to go after Crosby.
2. Sens need to shoot every chance they get. Both goalies are shaky and if they can ruin the confidence of both goalies the Sens won’t have much trouble getting those pucks to the back of the net.
3. Don’t target Matt Cooke. Yes, he cut your best players Achilles tendon, but consistently going after him is a good way to lose the series.
4. Don’t be intimidated by all the 35+ talent on their roster. They’re very vulnerable right now, and the Sens are hot. This Penguins team is the slowest we’ve seen in years, and this Senators team is one of the fast. Skate circles around them greybeards!
1. Start Tomas Vokun
It’s clear that the weakest link on this season’s Pittsburgh Penguins team is Marc Andre Fleury. The guy has let a lot of soft goals in this playoff season. The Penguins defense need to trust that their goalie is going to do his job. Right now that’s not happening. Vokun has come through to save a lot of games this season.
2.Let Malkin Loose
When the Pens treat Malkin like Crosby’s equal Malkin flourishes. He becomes a God-like player that even the opposing team admires. When the Pens treat Malkin like Crosby’s backup Malkin plays like Crosby’s backup. It’s almost like Malkin locks away his inner Hockey God so that Crosby can shine. To win this series the Pens need both Malkin and Crosby to get crazy and let loose. They both need to unleash the fire and passion they have within them. When their powers combine the Pens become unstoppable.
3.Rattle Coach Maclean
Coach Maclean’s greatest talent is keeping his players under control. Last series we saw the type of havoc the Sens can unleash upon the opposing team if needed. Maclean knows the proper time and place for an explosion. If you rattle Coach the team will feel it and will inevitably explode into firestorm of hurt before the right time. Thus causing the Sens to take one stupid penalty after another.
Mack: The Sens are hot and the Pens just got by a young Islanders team. The series won’t be an easy one, and the Pens are the favourites which I think plays into the Sens hands. Series will go to 6, with the Sens just edging it out. Spezza will be a big reason, and provide a huge boost to the team.
Elaine: Every fiber of my being wants to say the Sens will win. I love Evgeni Malkin but I loathe the team he plays on. I dislike the Penguins so much the actual animal is no longer my favorite animal. Which is why it pains me to say the Penguins will win it in 5. It will be a hard fought battle. We will more than likely see multiple overtimes and plenty of fights. The Penguins want to prove that getting past the Islanders was not a fluke. With a heavy heart I believe they will.
Which mascot would win in a fight?
Although Iceburgh (Penguins) has trained alongside Jean Claude Van Damme I believe that Spartacat (Senators) could take him. Spartacat is quite the cuddly mascot. He’s spunky, friendly, and goofy. Yet, we shouldn’t forget one thing. Sparty is a ginger. As fans of Matt Calvert (Columbus Blue Jackets Left Winger) have learned you should never never anger a ginger. They have Gingrage.