With the playoffs on the horizon, I wanted to put together previews of each series, but more specifically, I wanted to put together the type of previews I’d want to read. Bite-sized, few stats, and little splash of opinion for seasoning. This is my attempt at providing that.
1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 4) Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head in 2013: Penguins beat the Bruins by a single goal all three games.
A stat: The Penguins scored 22 times over five second round games. That works out to A-point-Lot per game.
*** ALL STATS REGULAR SEASON ***
Goal differentials: Pittsburgh +46, Boston: +22
Shots-per-game: Pittsburgh: 30 (11th), Boston: 32.4 (2nd)
Shots-against-per-game: Pittsburgh: 29.2 (16th), Boston: 28.6 (13th)
PIT: Tomas Vokoun: .919 save percentage, 2.45 goals-against average
BOS: Tuukka Rask: .929 save percentage, 2.00 goals-against average
PIT: Sidney Crosby, 56 points in 36 games
BOS: Brad Marchand, 36 in 45 games
Reason to watch: Come on now, you don’t need me here.
Lately: Penguins beats the Sens in five, Bruins beat the Rags in the same.
PIT: 24.7% (2nd)
BOS: 14.8% (26nd)
PIT: 79.6% (25th)
BOS: 87.1% (4th)
Special teams evaluation: Pittsburgh’s powerplay versus Boston’s PK is going to be a serious battle. Boston’s PP against Pitt’s PK will be too, but for different, sadder reasons.
Injuries: Ference still isn’t cleared for Boston, still hasn’t played since Game 7 against Toronto.
First game: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. EST
Flippant barstool opinion: I keep trying to talk myself into Boston making this more interesting than people think, then snapping back to the fact that Pittsburgh is nasty deep and healthy so it really might not go long.
I think this series is going to be a lot harder for both defensive corps than for the forwards. It’s not that both teams don’t have great defenders, it’s just that the depth of forwards in this series is so ocean-deep that the importance of the d-men further down the depth chart is going to be huge. I’m not sure guys like Bartowski/Krug/Hamilton will be able to do the job for Boston in the end, but the Bruins advantage is in net, so who really knows. Health will be a big factor in the series.
Prediction: Penguins in seven.
Your NHL.com trailer: