It seems a little unfair to both teams that this isn’t the conference final, right?
With the Panthers, Blackhawks, and Kings out, these two teams could easily be considered the best left in the whole playoffs.
Like last preview, this will be a short breakdown of what should be an excellent series.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals
These teams are so incredibly evenly matched. Both can score and both have good defenses.
Goaltending is another story. Matt Murray could be starting in the net for the Penguins the rest of the playoffs, and while he has preformed very well, he still lacks experience. That is not great against a team like Washington. Murray’s GAA has been very low, sitting at an incredible 1.33. If his defense can step up, then Murray won’t be under as much pressure.
Defense is going to make this series. These were the 2nd and 3rd best defenses in the league this season.
The Capitals used their D-men most effective in the first round, having their top two +/- scorers be Matt Niskanen and Karl Alzner. John Carlson, another D-man, had six points in six games in the first round.
Compare that to Pittsburgh, the Penguins got more out of Kris Letang than anyone else in the first round, but didn’t have as many defensemen putting up high +/- scores.
Washington doesn’t only have better skill defensively, but their guys do more stuff that contributes.
I think that and the goaltending becomes the difference in this series. Both teams have experience all around, but this really seems like Washington’s year. This is definitely their series.
Pick: Capitals in 6