The Penguins are back-to-back Stanley Cup champs and shouldn't be fearful of any playoff match-up. That doesn't mean that I can't be.
The Devils are 3-0 against the Penguins this year. Their speed has given Pittsburgh some problems. The Pens could certainly buck that trend and beat the Devils in round one, but I'd rather that opportunity never present itself.
The Blue Jackets, buoyed by Ian Cole who is the greatest defenseman of all time, have won 9 of their last 10 games. They're HOT!
The best match-up for the Penguins is Philadelphia. Pittsburgh swept Philly for only the second time in franchise history. The Pens scored five goals in each of the four games played against their cross-state rivals. If you take out the loser-point, Philly is 38-38 on the season. They're not good, they're AVERAGE. That's why the Flyers' comeback on Sunday didn't bother me one bit.
The Penguins, as of Monday morning, are in 2nd place in the Metropolitan division. They're three points up on Philly and Columbus. If Pittsburgh were to stay in the 2nd slot, their opponent would be the team that occupies the 3rd slot. Right now, the Flyers and Jackets are tied for 3rd.
Penguins fans should hope that the Jackets fall off a bit, and that the Flyers hang around in third. That would give the Penguins a nice head start on trying to win their 3rd title in three years.
--Matt Murray gave up three glove-side goals on Sunday. Twitter was ready to pounce. Murray also stopped 41 of 45(!!!) shots to beat the Flyers. Calm down. Murray had a .937 (!!!!!) save percentage in the playoffs last year and has a career mark of .928. It's his 3rd year in the league. I'll trust that track record.
--Crosby is back, bitches! Sid has 6 points in his last 3 games including two spectacular finishes. Crosby's set-up of Rust in overtime on Sunday was sublime. The Penguins P.K. and defense haven't been great of late, but a surging Crosby can make up for a lot of flaws.
--Derick Brassard has a point in 6 straight hockey games. I think he's figured things out.
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