Predicting the Penguins and the Eastern Conference during the playoffs

Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Bryan Rust #17 of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bryan Rust #17 of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

As competitive, yet predictable as the qualifying round was, don’t look for that in the “first round.” This round in the Eastern Conference will see rivals pitted against each other, old foes fighting for supremacy, and games that match up with speed and physicality. In choosing these matchups, one must look to the past, yet remember anything goes come Stanley Cup time.

No. 5 Pittsburgh vs. No. 4 Philadelphia 

Nothing like a good ole fashioned barn burner to heat your summer nights, eh? There’s no secret that Philly and Pittsburgh hate each other, it shows every time they meet up. On the ice and in the stands, the rivalry is real, making this a fun one for watching. They never got to play their 4th game of the year, but the Penguins won the yearly series 2 games to 1.

Expect it to be more of the same come playoff time, back and forth, up and down, as both sides struggle for Pennsylvania bragging rights. Philly will have the upper hand, as the higher seed, but if the Pens can do what they did during the regular season and win at home, all they will have to do is take one in Philadelphia, and that’s that. It’ll be close, but the good guys will prevail.

(Prediction: Penguins in 6)

No. 6 Carolina vs. No. 3 Washington 

This matchup during the regular season was about as up and down as their current franchises are. The Hurricanes took the first 2 games, and then the Capitals stormed back, making it a 2-2 record for the season. It pains me to say it, but Washington will just have too much firepower, and Carolina will finally succumb to their weaknesses.

(Prediction: Capitals in 5)

Predicting the Penguins and entire Eastern Conference during the playoffs

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No. 7 NY Islanders vs. No. 2 Tampa Bay 

Pretty much everything went right for the Tampa Bay Lightning this season except when they matched up against the New York Islanders. New York took 2 out of 3 during the season, even putting up 11 goals in just 3 games. Look for more of the same, as the Islanders prevail in the playoffs, and Tampa Bay stumbles once more.

(Prediction: Islanders in 6)

No. 8 Toronto vs. No. 1 Boston

Everyone loves an excellent David vs. Goliath matchup, however, in this case, it’ll be anything but that. The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins faced off against each other 3 times this year with Boston winning 2 comfortably, and only losing once in overtime. The Bruins were a dominant force in the East this season, and their reign hasn’t stopped just yet.

(Prediction: Bruins in 4)

This season, the NHL and the NHLPA have decided that after each round, the teams will be re-seeded by there rank. That means Boston will take on New York, and we will once more watch the battle between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.