Please excuse me if something doesn't sound right. I'm only half way through my first cup of coffee this morning. Anyways, we stand on the morn of Round 2 starting for the reigning Cup champs and the team that pulled off the biggest upset of the 1st Round. Also, like always, the links will take you to a card of each player in my Sportsbuy.com store. If you don't see a card you like, feel free to check out the rest of my inventory.
This series is going to be all about skill and the other team shutting it down. I've heard rumblings of doubt about Montreal's ability to shut down the Pens. Let me just point out that they shut down Washington, which is without doubt, one of the NHL's most skilled teams.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin or Tomas Plekanec or Mike Cammalleri, which forward pair would you rather have? Enough said. Despite each teams' leading scorers, like most playoff series, the goal scorers have to come from Lines 2 and 3. That will place the burden not only on the stars listed above but also on Kunitz, Staal, and Talbot for the Pens and Gionta, Gomez, and Pouliot for the Canadians.
On D for each team, they have a shut down d-man Hal Gill and Brooks Orpik; a puck moving defenseman in Gonchar and Markov; and a couple guys that do a good job of not sticking out too much like Hamrlik and McKee. If these guys can make a first good pass out of the zone and play well positionally, they'll limit the other team's scoring chances and create a few for their team.
Marc-Andre Fleury, like I said before, seems to be a little worn down. He will not face a ton of shots, but he has to steal a couple goals for the Pens every night. Jaroslav Halak has been on fire lately, not that I need to tell you that. Pittsburgh probably won't throw everything and the kitchen sink at him like Washington did, so he too will have to make some huge saves to keep his team in it.
When all is said and done, I like Pittsburgh better than the Habs. Pittsburgh in 6. I don't think Montreal will be able to shut down the Pens that play well together as a team.