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Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern Conference semifinals preview

You would possibly acknowledge some acquainted faces within the Eastern Conference semifinals.

After all, the Pittsburgh Penguins (2015-16 and 2016-17), Tampa Bay Lightning (2014-15), New York Rangers (2013-14) and Boston Bruins (2013) make up the former 5 East champions.

Yes, we all know the Rangers did not make the playoffs this spring, however greater than one-third in their 2013-14 roster is sprinkled some of the Lightning (Ryan Callahan, Anton Stralman, Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, J.T. Miller), the Bruins (Rick Nash) and the Penguins (Derick Brassard, Carl Hagelin).

The Washington Capitals aren’t any slouch both. Sure they have got been chastised for his or her incapability to advance previous the second one around. But the Capitals are the one NHL membership to have received no less than one sequence in every of the previous 4 post-seasons.

Here is a look on the second-round matchups within the Eastern Conference:  

Boston vs. Tampa Bay

Regular season information:

  • Boston: 50-20-12 (112 issues)
  • Tampa Bay: 54-23-Five (113 issues)

Season sequence: Bruins received Three-1-Zero (Lightning 1-Three-Zero).

  • Nov. 29 @ Boston — Bruins Three-2
  • Mar. 17 @ Tampa Bay — Bruins Three-Zero
  • Mar. 29 @ Boston — Bruins Four-2
  • Apr. Three @ Tampa Bay — Lightning Four-Zero

The thin: This is the second one post-season conflict between the Lightning and Bruins. The Bruins defeated Tampa Bay in seven video games within the 2011 East ultimate … Boston’s Rick Nash is going up in opposition to former Rangers teammates now with Tampa Bay in Stralman, Callahan, Miller, McDonagh and Girardi … Both Lightning’s Kucherov and Boston’s David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk led their groups within the first around with 5 targets apiece … There will likely be some acquainted foes from the AHL Calder Cup East ultimate closing 12 months, when the Lightning’s farm group, the Syracuse Crunch, defeated the Providence Bruins in 5 video games. Current Boston gamers Danton Heinen, Matt Grzelcyk, Sean Kuraly, Noel Acciari and DeBrusk suited up for Providence in that sequence, whilst Lightning forwards Cory Conacher and Yanni Gourde performed for Syracuse. Lightning third-line centre Anthony Cirelli did not sign up for the Crunch till the Calder Cup ultimate … Lightning affiliate trainer Rick Bowness was once Boston’s head trainer in 1991-92 when he had present Bruins president Cam Neely and normal supervisor Don Sweeney on his group.

Player to observe: Boston D Zdeno Chara. Can the 41-year-old Bruins captain rebound from an arduous stretch that noticed the Bruins end the common season with six video games within the ultimate 9 days adopted by means of a hard-fought, seven-game, 14-day sequence with the Toronto Maple Leafs? Chara led Boston in ice time at 23:27 within the first around.

Prediction: Lightning in seven. Tampa Bay is rested and loaded with a pleasant mix of top of the range veteran and younger skill.

With Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin going head-to-head for the 0.33 consecutive playoff 12 months, Rob Pizzo breaks down the contention that fanatics love looking at. 1:35

Pittsburgh vs. Washington

Regular season information:

  • Pittsburgh: 47-29-6 (100 issues)  
  • Washington: 49-26-7 (105 issues)

Season sequence: Tied at 2-2-Zero.

  • Oct. 11 @ Washington — Penguins Three-2
  • Nov. 10 @ Washington — Capitals Four-1
  • Feb. 2 @ Pittsburgh — Penguins 7-Four
  • Apr. 1 @ Pittsburgh — Capitals Three-1

The thin: This is the fourth assembly and 0.33 in a row between Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and his Washington counterpart Alex Ovechkin within the playoffs of their 13-year profession. Pittsburgh has received every sequence … The opener on Thursday will mark the 20th head-to-head playoff matchup for Crosby and Ovechkin … Crosby has six targets and 13 issues within the earlier 19 video games, whilst Ovechkin has checked in with 5 targets and 8 issues … Ovechkin and the Capitals have made the playoffs in 10 of his 13 seasons, however they have got by no means complex previous the second one around … The Capitals are available scorching after reeling off 4 immediately wins to complete off the Columbus Blue Jackets after falling in the back of 2-Zero … The Penguins have received 9 consecutive playoff sequence, the longest streak because the Detroit Red Wings received 9 immediately between 1997-99 … Pittsburgh forwards Evgeni Malkin (knee) and Carl Hagelin (higher frame) will pass over Game 1 on Thursday. Both gamers are necessary to the good fortune of the Penguins particular groups … Crosby and his lineman Jake Guentzel scored six targets and 13 issues apiece of their first-round sequence in opposition to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Player to observe: Penguins C Derick Brassard. Acquired on the business closing date to reinforce the group’s center, Brassard will likely be much more necessary to Pittsburgh’s purpose if Malkin’s absence is extended. Brassard has a knack for acting smartly within the post-season with runs to the Stanley Cup ultimate with the Rangers in 2014 and to the East ultimate with the Ottawa Senators a 12 months in the past.

Prediction: Penguins in six. We’ve observed Crosby-led groups get the higher hand on Ovechkin-led groups too again and again within the NHL, Olympics, international championships and international junior tournaments.

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