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April 25, 2008
by Jeff Briggs
A new round of hockey is upon us and since, despite watching the first round, I still don't know that much about hockey I've invited my roommate John DiDomenicis back for more playoffs previews. He went 6 for 8 in first round predictions.
#2 Pittsburgh Penguins
vs. #5 New York Rangers
(Season Series – Rangers won 5-3)
This might be the best matchup in the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, in terms of public awareness. The series pins up one of the biggest markets in the US (New York) against the biggest name in hockey (Sidney Crosby). This series has plenty of big names on each side of ice, with the likes of Jaromir Jagr, Brenden Shanahan, and the unmistakable Sean Avery suiting up for the Blueshirts; as well as Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, and Marian Hossa for the Baby Pens. Both teams are suspect on the blue-line, where speed and defensive ability are glaring weaknesses. However, goaltending has been a strength for both of these teams down the stretch, with Fleury and Lundqvist recovering well from midseason injuries and slumps respectively. Marc-Andre Fleury impressed many in his 2nd playoff series, posting a .955 save percentage against the Ottawa Senators. Both teams had a week off before this series kicked off and I think that favors the Rangers, as they get an opportunity to game-plan on how to stop the Pens’ two great centers, Crosby and Malkin. The difference will be the Rangers ability to slow the game down and keep the shot count in the mid 20’s. This favors a very experienced New York team and will frustrate the young guns from Pittsburgh.
Rangers in 6 games