John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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The Sens Begin Round 2 of the Playoffs Tomorrow

The National Hockey league announced late this afternoon (or some time this evening, I'm not sure which) that the Second Round of the NHL playoffs will open tomorrow with the Ottawa Senators taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks opening their second round series as well.

Goddess. The Sens are going to be in tough against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unlike the Montreal Canadiens, the Pittsburgh Penguins have scoring in oodles (Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Iginla, Letang, Neal, Morrow, and a few others) and the Sens will somehow have to contain Pittsburgh's offense if they can. Furthermore, the Penguins are not slow compared to the Montreal Canadiens team that seemed lacklustre during the opening round of the playoffs, and Ottawa will have to try and match them in the speed department. Size-wise, Pittsburgh is a much tougher, much larger opponent than Montreal, and Sens players such as Chris Neil, Chris Philips, Colin Greening, Eric Gryba, and Jared Cowen will find themselves dealing with a tough, large group of Penguin players. The Sens are going to need to be defensively solid against this team, and the Penguins power play is an offensive machine, function at 33.3 percent during the regular season. So Ottawa will have to avoid taking penalties in the games against Pittsburgh as much as they can.

For their part, the Sens are going to have to play the full 60 minutes every game, they're going to have to contain Crosby and company to the best of their ability, win faceoffs, and try and keep the Penguins in their own end. Craig Anderson is going to have to stand on his head in Ottawa's goal and be twice as good as he was against Montreal, a tall order against this offensive Penguins team. Daniel Alfredsson will have to be a true leader through example once more in this second round of the playoffs, as the Penguins have much more experience in the playoffs than most of the kids on the Senators team... but the only real weaknesses of the Penguins to exploit are the goaltending situation in Pittsburgh where Thomas Vokoun will likely be in goal for the Pens and the Sens can get to him a bit, and Pittsburgh's at times sloppy defense in its own end. Should make for an interesting round of hockey (though I'll likely miss two or three games during the CanGames weekend.

While I would really like to see the Ottawa Senators upset the Pittsburgh Penguins juggernaut, I suspect that Pittsburgh will win this series in 5, maybe 6, games. If the Senators are capable of beating the Penguins in the series, it will likely have to be in 7 games.

Go, Sens, Go!
Tags: nhl hockey, nhl playoffs, ottawa senators, round 2, sports hut

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