|Angus' Playoff Pool Primer - Part 2 of 2|
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: (4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Philadelphia Flyers
By far the most intriguing series on paper, the battle of Pennsylvania promises to be a great one once again. The Penguins have been scorching since the trade deadline, thanks to two key reasons: the coaching change (Dan Byslma coming in), and the return of Sergei Gonchar.
This series is going to be a war. Both teams feature star players that love to play on the edge (Crosby, Richards). Jeff Carter has emerged as a go-to sniper and Daniel Briere is a proven playoff beast. For me, the series comes down to the goaltending - and Martin Biron to be specific.
Fantasy-wise, Chris Kunitz plays a playoff style of game and has produced before with Anaheim. Look for him to score some big goals for the Penguins. On the other side, do not forget about Briere. He has slipped many a radar because of his injury-filled regular season, but he usually cranks his game up several notches in the second season.
Forwards: Philadelphia. Hard to overcome Crosby and Malkin, but the Flyers have insane forward depth (thanks in large part to sensational rookie Claude Giroux).
Defense: Pittsburgh. The Flyers are very top heavy with Timonen and Coburn, and the Penguins have a deeper and more balanced six man unit.
Goaltending: Pittsburgh. If Martin Biron plays like he did last spring, the Flyers win. I don’t think he does.
Intangibles: Even. Both teams want to kill the other. This is the series to watch.
Match-up to Watch For:
Crosby vs. Richards. ‘Nuff said.
The Verdict: Fleury outclasses Biron and the Penguins win a war in seven games.