The second round of the NHL Playoffs are finally upon us, which means it’s time to look ahead to what the conference semifinal round hold. From the best team in hockey down to those who limped into hockey’s Eight Eight, this year’s semifinal field is loaded with teams itching to see their championship dreams realized. All the action kicks off May 14th, so let’s take a look at what’s in store for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators.
|TIME (ET)||#1 VS. #7||NETWORKS|
|TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2013||7:30 P.M.||OTTAWA AT PITTSBURGH||NBCSN, CBC, RDS|
|FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2013||7:30 P.M.||OTTAWA AT PITTSBURGH||NBCSN, CBC|
|SUNDAY, MAY 19, 2013||7:30 P.M.||PITTSBURGH AT OTTAWA||NBCSN, CBC, RDS|
|WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 2013||7:30 P.M.||PITTSBURGH AT OTTAWA||NBCSN, CBC, RDS|
|*FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2013||7:30 P.M.||OTTAWA AT PITTSBURGH||NBCSN, CBC, RDS|
|*SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013||TBD||PITTSBURGH AT OTTAWA||CBC, RDS|
|*TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2013||TBD||OTTAWA AT PITTSBURGH||CBC, RDS|
To call the Penguins first-round series with the New York Islanders a scare would be to understate things. Pens fans are terrified right now and they should be as while the Isles could only take the Pens to the brink in the first-round, the Ottawa Senators are a far better team despite only being a seed higher. Sidney Crosy showed up for the Pens but he needs more of the supporting cast to do their work on defense. The Pens had no problem scoring goals against the Isles, their problem was stopping New York from answering those goals. Something needs to be figured out between the pipes as Marc Andre-Fleury is a hot mess and Tomas Vokoun is only marginally better. The Pens can’t afford to get into another slugfest in the semifinals as they may not end up on the right side of the series his time.
They’re healthy and they’re deep — still. The Senators were a threat against the Montreal Canadiens thanks to some powerful depth and great talent across the roster but it’s going to take a next level effort to get them past the top seeded Penguins. Pittsburgh is wounded but they’re not bad and the series against New York may have woken them up. Don’t worry about Ottawa getting bullied around, as their series with Montreal was physical and brutal. One thing the Isles did right was they hit the Pens hard and Ottawa is well equipped to keep chipping away at them physically and ware them down.
This could be another long series for the Penguins as the Senators are even better equipped than the Isle were to upset the 1-seed in the East and move on to the Conference Finals. Pittsburgh brings obvious talent across the board but the Senators bring physicality, health and depth which are a trifecta for success in the NHL Playoffs. It’s not going to be completely one-sided, as the Senators weakness is their inability to recover from allowing quick goals to opponents. But we could be in store for another brawl both in terms of how the series will go and how the players on either side will react to one another once the puck drops.
Prediction: Senators win series, 4-3