NHL Eastern Conference finals preview and picks

Carolina Hurricanes (+170) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (-180)

 

Before the playoffs began, there weren’t many giving the Carolina Hurricanes a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

 

No big names on defense. Questionable goaltending. Too small, said the naysayers.

 

About the only thing large was their odds to win the Cup. And for the third straight series, they’re big underdogs to advance to the next round (+170).

 

It’s tough to blame oddsmakers. The Canes are up against a talent-loaded Pittsburgh squad that features two of the top three scorers in the playoffs. Sidney Crosby is tied for the lead with 21 – including a league-leading 12 goals – and Evgeni Malkin is close behind with 19. Ten different players for the Pens also have at least two goals through two series.

 

The Canes only have seven but what they lack in offense, they make up for in defense. Of the four teams remaining, you might say Carolina is the team relying most on defense to win.

 

Cam Ward has been the goalie of the postseason after out-dueling Martin Brodeur in Round 1 and then goals against-leading Tim Thomas in Round 2. The Canes also have the best penalty kill of the four teams remaining at 90 percent and they’ve only seen three overs in their 14 games.

 

The Pens, meanwhile, carry an over/under record of 7-5 and they’ve seen the over in four straight games. A power play that has scored nine goals in the past six games is partly to thank for that but the numbers aren’t the whole story.

 

Pittsburgh has struggled to get quality chances with the extra man recently and with Sergei Gonchar hurting with an apparent knee injury, the Pens could have trouble in the next round. Between Ward’s play and Carolina’s aggressive penalty kill, don’t be surprised if we see a few shorthanded goals from the Carolina side.

 

The difference in this series though, might come down to who can outlast who. The Pens are coming off two tough series against rivals Philadelphia and Washington while the Canes are coming off a pair of seven-game series.

 

Gonchar is already hurting from being kneed by Alex Ovechkin and Rod Brind’Amour is questionable for Game 1 for Carolina with a face injury after getting nailed with a puck last game. And those are just the injuries we know about.

 

Expect more to come as this series wears on and watch to see which team is wearing down more late in games.

 

Pittsburgh is the favorite but Carolina has the defense and goaltending and is worth the risk with the underdog value.

 

Pick: Carolina in six games

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Posted by habsfan23
4 years ago

just want to make one more point to mafia boy about the carolina's so called 'ease' through the playoffs so far... carolina has won in overtime or in the last minute of regulation SIX times so far this post season... i give em credit, they are a gritty squad... but easy run so far??? get your facts figured out
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Posted by habsfan23
4 years ago

ok i shouldn't say Cam who... because lets face it, through 2 periods here he has been a machine. between him and fleury, maybe the best 2 periods of goaltending ive seen in a while. incredibly athletic and acrobatic saves at both ends..but mafiaboy still dosn't know what he is talking about!
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Posted by habsfan23
4 years ago

oh and not to mention... HE JUST GOT THE SECOND GOAL OF THE GAME... CAM WHO?? Tell it like it is MAFIA BOY!!!!
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Posted by habsfan23
4 years ago

MAFIABOY.. can you read/understand what you write? "They got past the big bad bruins with ease" ???????????????????????? Helllooooooooo ... it was a SEVEN GAME series that had what 2, 3 overtimes thoughout?? !!! Im not out to bash anyone but c'mon makin a statement like that makes no sense.. and Malkin doing nothing since the philly series? I think it was game 2 or 3 against washington when his parents were at the game and they guy had 2 goals and probably 4 points !!?? I mean you make no sense. A couple games later, although it went off a stick, he's credited with the OVERTIME GAME WINNING GOAL!!! and he's SECOND IN THE NHL IN PLAYOFF POINTS!! WAKE UP MAFIA BOY.
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Posted by mafiaboy1
4 years ago

Why is nobody giving the Canes any credit here They have a 25 year old goalie (WARD) that has won the cup,Conn Smythe in 06' they beat out Martin Brodeur fashionalbly and took out The vezina trophy winner Tim Thomas and the big bad Bruins with ease and the canes are 6-0 all-time in playoff series. Call me crazy but I say lay it down on the canes to take the series, Malkin hasn't done sh*t since game 2 of the philly series so control crosby and the fload gates will open.
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Posted by deltasig4money
4 years ago

ok lets put it this way.pens take care of business whether its in 5,6,or 7. too much talent to get wasted away by the canes. everyone thought ovechkin and company would handle there business, the pens went up to washington and closed the deal. they will now take that momentum into this series.good luck cane fans. pitt is for real
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Posted by Stratus1-26
4 years ago

ok, here i go again, this is what the system gives you after Sid vs Alex, Staal vs Staal. and for all you Carolina fans get ready for the Big Let Down, don't get me wrong, it's not because Carolina can't go in there and get these guys, but this is a business, a system that gives you what IT wants, hence i don't give a sh#t how many games it goes, just the outcome. just like the system, which will give it's writers the chance to write their azzes off like i give you (Eli & Payton) what could make a family more proud, when both of their sons hold up the trophy, as hockey fans we all know one Staal brother has held Stanley above his head,hence it's the other brothers turn, so i say to you ride Pitt all the way to the cup, as you've witnessed in the NBA the defending champs are no more, as is with Detroit Redwings, their glory was last year and that's that, this year the writers are going to feast on the pens taking it all and another brother duo, basking in the sunshine of holding and kissing the cup. YOU'LL SEE!!! i said it f...t or did i?
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Posted by nc1capper
4 years ago

cashed on a nice series ticket on canes - devils,,even nicer ticket for canes - bruins--and for sure I will be pressing on the Canes again vs the pens --Go Canes,,lets get that cheddar ,,,,again
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Posted by HeadOverHeart
4 years ago

And there is another person who says Pens in Five. I'd excuse you if I thought you slept through the NHL Playoffs so far, but I suspect you haven't. If you believe what you're saying, prepare to be surprised...
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Posted by deltasig4money
4 years ago

who writes these articles.haha who is jon campbell?pens take it in 5 -But hey if covers is choosing the canes i might double the money im putting on this series
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Top Response

Posted by deltasig4money
4 years ago

"who writes these articles.haha who is jon campbell?pens take it in 5 -But hey if covers is choosing the canes i might double the money im putting on this series"