While the hockey world waits for the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings to finish up their series, tension is mounting in the East where the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins are preparing to start their Conference Finals series to see who will crawl out of the Eastern Conference and compete for a Stanley Cup.
Pittsburgh got off to a slow start in the postseason as they got blindsided by the New York Islanders but after taking care of the Ottawa Senators in reasonably easy fashion, the Boston Bruins know they have their hands full with what’s next on their schedule. Ask Bruins star Brad Marchand what he thinks of the prospects of playing the Pens, and he’ll say that Boston is in over their heads.
“Obviously, they are the favorites. They have some guys that are very skilled and very talented, and they have the two best players in the world,” Marchand buzzed about the Penguins. “And then you add Iginla. And their third and fourth line are playing so well right now. We’re in over our heads. We’ve got a big job to do. We’re all excited to try it out and see how it goes.”
If there’s a team that can stop the Penguins it looks like it’s Boston. The netminding for the Isles and Senators was passable and admirable but it wasn’t outstanding. Tukka Rask is staking his claim as one of the best goalies in the East and there is no grander stage to make your name than against the Penguins in the Conference Finals.
Milan Lucic jumped in to compare the Penguins to the Miami Heat of the NBA in that Pittsburgh is an unstoppable force on paper with names like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and James Neal not to mention netminder Tomas Vokoun.
But while the odds aren’t stacked in their favor, Marchand thinks that their 2011 Stanley Cup victory over a similarly stacked Vancouver Canucks team prepared them for this fight.
Things can happen in hockey, and you can get some good bounces. Hopefully we get some of those,” Marchand said. “In any seven-game series you definitely want to wear the other guys down, especially their top guys. But Pittsburgh is a little different. They’ve got some very physical guys over there, and their third and fourth lines play very hard.”
Game 1 between the Bruins and Penguins starts Saturday.