2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Preview

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow the National Hockey League’s Final Four kicks off with the Eastern Conference matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins.

Its two vastly different team styles looking for their second Stanley Cup since the full season lockout.  The Pittsburgh Penguins play an offensive, high tempo game.  Their roster is full of former and future team captains – and they let their skill show through.  The downfall of the Pittsburgh Penguins in past series has been the fact that they don’t like to play a physical series.

The New York Islanders gave the Pittsburgh Penguins fits because they played an in your face style against the Penguins.  Pittsburgh will struggle against the Boston Bruins, because the Bruins play a very aggressive style of play.

Pittsburgh will need to overwhelm the Bruins offensively in the same way they played a shock and awe campaign in the final games of the Ottawa series.

Puck control is going to dictate this series, and the Boston Bruins are good at playing that game.  If they can take the speed away from the Penguins and dictate control play like they did against the New York Rangers – Boston could earn a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Both teams want to play their game, and don’t really have the pieces to stack up against one another to play the other teams game – so it should be interesting to see who grabs the momentum out of game one and carries it.

One thing about the Boston Bruins – is they have the players that can take control of a series and carry the team.  Only problem is they don’t always show up for complete games – its frustrating for fans and players alike.  I had this conversation with a Bruins fan.  Milan Lucic has the ability and size to dictate and control games. However, he only throws that switch when the Bruins have been in danger lately – and against the Penguins – throwing that switch on to late could prove costly.

The Boston Bruins have Zdeno Chara, who according to Pierre McGuire can eliminate a star player in a series – but who do you match him up against when it comes to the Pittsburgh Penguins?  Sydney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin?  Don’t forget Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis, or Jarome Iginla.

I can’t root for the Boston Bruins in this series on principle.  I just hate the Bruins too much.  Much more than I hate the Pittsburgh Penguins.  I hate the Penguins for who they are, and what they have done.  In the salary cap era of hockey – they have been able to put together a team of star players and great role players that just seem to win hockey games all the time.  I merely hate the Bruins for what they are – the Boston Bruins.

They can be beaten though, and the Buffalo Sabres proved that this year, stopping winning streaks twice against the Penguins this year.  Buffalo also found success at times against the Bruins this year.

It’s a series that can go seven games – and probably will.

Game 1 @ Pittsburgh Sat June 1, 8PM
Game 2 @ Pittsburgh Mon June 3, 8PM
Game 3 @ Boston Wed June 5, 8PM
Game 4 @ Boston Fri June 7, 8PM
Game 5 @ Pittsburgh Sun June 9, 8PM*
Game 6 @ Boston Tue June 11, TBD*
Game 7 @ Pittsburgh Wed June 12, TBD*

*If necessary.

Topics: Boston Bruins, Conference Finals, NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins, Stanley Cup Playoffs

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  • davidmuscalo

    The Bruins, whom I despise, have the goal tending and the brawn. Over the course of several games the Bruins will wear down and slow down the fast skating Penguins. Once that happens, the series could be over quicker than most think. I have no doubt the Bruins will win. It is case of brawn against finesse; we all know how that ends.

    • Kevin

      The Bruins can be big and Brawny all they want, but if they don’t score
      enough goals to overcome the so many weapons Pitt has they’re sunk. As
      Buffalo Bills ex-head coach used to say “you have to run and stop the
      run” or score and stop them from scoring. can it be any simpler? Can
      Boston do that? Do they have enough scorers? I think not. This one is
      were there are just too many guns in the arsenal for opposition to
      handle.

  • Phil_Cap

    Hey Tim.. you shouldn’t “hate the Penguins for what they’ve been able to do in the salary cap era”.. hate the other teams for not figuring it out. For me.. I like both teams so I’ll just watch and enjoy without rooting.
    Phil in Cleveland

    • Timothy Redinger

      Phil,
      You may have hit the nail on the head, maybe I hate the Sabres more for not figuring it out! Thanks for the read and enjoy the series!