We've spent some time this week previewing the matchups and key players involved for the Eastern Conference Finals. By now, after five days of waiting, it's finally time to drop the puck again and kick off another series.
But we guess we've never given the prediction....Even though the intrepid reader can probably guess what logo is coming next.
Series key: The Flyers staying out of the penalty box and Martin Biron continuing to find ways to win
The Flyers aren't dumb, they know the more chances they give the Pens with a man-advantage the less their chances of winning become. Knowing this is one thing; actually showing restraint and discipline is another. To paraphrase the famous Mike Tyson quote: "Everyone has a plan until Jarkko Ruutu is yapping in your face". We see a guy like Steve Downie taking something like that devastating Ryan Hollweg boarding penalty from last week that tips the balance of a game.
Further than that, it's all about Biron. At times he didn't look that great against Washington (but still got the series win) but he certainly has inspired confidence with stealing a couple games from Montreal. Coming into this round, no goalie in the playoffs has seen more rubber and stopped more picks than Biron. If he can regain that groove he was in against the Habs and make stellar saves on the Pens that could be the boost needed to tip the balance in the series.
In the end though, we think the Penguins are too skilled, too fast for the Philly defensemen and that if Marc-Andre Fleury can out duel Henrik Lundqvist, he ought to be able to match Biron. We, of course, are taking the Pens. In lieu of Kimmo Timonen's injury, we don't think this series will be as long as many think...Almost all previews we've seen, no matter who they pick, seem to say it will be a 6 or 7 game series, we disagree, guys like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are just too dynamic to be contained by the old and slow like Derian Hatcher and Jaroslav Modry.
Official TST Prediction: Pens in 5!