Saturday, May 2, 2009

Eastern Conferance Semifinals Preview: Penguins vs. Capitals

Pittsburgh Penguins:
Season record: 45-28-9, 2nd in the Atlantic 
Season series: lost 1-3
First round: Won 4-2 over the Philadelphia Flyers
Top scorers: Evengi Malkin 35-G, 78-A, 113-P, Sidney Crosby 33-G, 70-A, 103-P
Goalie: Marc-Andre Fluery Record: 35-18-7, GAA: 2.67, Sav%: .912

Washington Capitals:
Season record: 50-24-8, 1st in the South East
Season series: won 3-1
First round: Won 4-3 over the New York Rangers
Top scorers: Alexander Ovechkin 56-G, 54-A, 110-P, Nichlas Backstrom 22-G, 66-A, 88-P
Goalie: Jose Theodore Record: 32-17-5, GAA: 2.87, Sav%: .900

Outlook: There were three players that amassed a hundred or more points during the regular season this year and all three are playing in this series. Offense will be a premium as both teams feature a number of offensive threats. Even though the Capitals won the season series and are the higher seed, the Penguins should be considered the favorite in this battle. Pittsburgh was the Eastern Conference winner last season and has a bit more playoff experience than Washington. Also, Pittsburgh wins the battle of the goalies which is what this series could come down too. As Washington fans know anything is possible. The Capitals were down 3-1 to the Rangers, but came back to win  the last three games. While the Caps don't have a 2nd superstar to pair with Ovechkin like the Pens do, they have an extremely talented and deep line-up. The Caps will need their back-up goalie Simeon Varlamov to step up and give them a boost like he did against the Rangers.

Prediction: Pittsburgh in 7


  1. If Theodore was still in net the Pens would win the battle of netminders, but Varlamov has been lights out so far (albeit against an offensively anemic team like NY). Varlamov and Fleury play a pretty similar style, and other than the weak second goal Varlamov played better in game 1. I'd also say that Semin, Backstrom and Green are pretty close to being on that superstar level. Semin probably would have netted 100 points this season if he hadn't missed 20 games and Green was the first defensmen to score 30 goals in 16 years. The Penguins do have experience on their side after last years cup run, but if Varlamov keeps it up that might not be enough and the Caps could erase a lot of bad playoff memories against the hated Pens.

  2. I agree about Varlamov he's been amazing so far. But now he's dealing with some top notch goal scorers and I have a hard time betting on a guy who has less than 20 games of experience. I think the Pens experience could be a big factor. Though this 2nd game is crucial for the Caps if they win then I think they are set, but if the Pens get the split i'd say they will take both at home.