And so it begins…

The puck drops in a couple of hours to kick off the 2009-2010 playoffs. And for the third time in four years, the Pens start their Cup journey against the Ottawa Senators. Couple of quick notes:

  • Matt Cooke and Chris Kunitz are questionable for tonight’s game. If both can’t go, the Pens could be in some trouble. This much is sure: their forecheck will be sorely missed.
  • Much is being said/written about Ottawa’s shutdown-d pairing of Chris Phillips/Anton Volchenkov and their success against Sidney Crosby. Phillips and Volchenkov have done an outstanding job against #87, who had just 3 assists in four games against Ottawa this year. If the Pens are to win this series, they’re going to need the second, third and fourth lines to provide some offense.
  • Ottawa goalies Brian Elliott (starter) and Pascal Leclaire have zero playoff games on their resumes.
  • We all know Alex Kovalev is out for Ottawa, but defenseman Filip Kuba will also miss the series with injury. The underrated Kuba led all Sens’ defensemen with 28 points this season. He’ll be missed.

I’ll leave you with this. Ottawa blog Sens Town believes the NHL will fix the series so the Pens can advance. “The NHL simply can’t afford the Pens to go out to a small market Canadian team like Ottawa. So Sens fans, get ready for some of the worst officiated games you have ever seen, all courtesy of the NHL for their own gain.” Conspiracy theories already? Yikes. Here’s the entire article.