Blackhawks, Kings, Bruins, and Penguins All Capable Cup Winners

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For all of you die-hard puck fans out there that just couldn’t wait anymore longer for some pulse pounding NHL action, today’s your lucky day. You can catch the Bruins taking on the Penguins tonight at 8 PM from the Consol Energy Center. The Blackhawks and Kings will kick of their series out West as well at 5 PM from United Center.

Right now the Pittsburgh Penguins are on fire and seem to be in rhythm, similar to when Sid the Kid and Evgeni Malkin helped capture the Cup in the 2008-2009 season. Detroit had been up 2-0 before ultimately losing in seven games because of the domination series MVP Malkin displayed. Crosby and Malkin will surely place immense pressure on the Bruins, as Boston’s season will be on the line.

The problem the Bruins face is the depth that the Penguins yield. Mid-season the Penguins acquired future Hall of Famer, Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames. Iginla was evidently supposed to be wearing a Bruins uniform. Though at the last minute he was “persuaded” to play for the Penguins because they were apparently a better fit for winning the Cup.

The Penguins cant underestimate the killer B’s. As of late Tuukka Rask has been playing out of his mind and looks to be following in the footsteps of Bruins great, Tim Thomas. Being Timmy T’s backup over the years has really molded Rask into a future Vezina winner who should continue his heroic play this series.

The Bruins also have something many teams don’t have; the luxury of a fourth line that can do damage. Paille-Campbell-Thornton have been big all playoff season. In fact, Campbell is coming off his best game of the playoffs. Also look for former Penguin great, now Bruin winger, Jaromir Jagr to snap out of his cold streak.

Seguin scored a goal in all three meetings against the Penguins during the regular season. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara tallied 3 points in those games. Either side is capable of winning this season.

As for the Western Conference, the Blackhawks and Kings will collide after both teams hit speed bumps en route to the Conference finals. The Hawks and Kings are built to last and the poise of both teams could cause this to be a lengthy series.

Game 1 is played at United Center on Saturday as well. The Kings already have more playoff losses than they did a year ago. They went on a 16-4 run through the postseason to capture the Stanley Cup as the 8th ranked team. They will be hoping to make it back-to-back trips.

The Blackhawks? All they did was rally from a 3-1 deficit to beat Detroit in the Conference Semi-Finals, taking game 7 on a Seabrook overtime goal. They are in the hunt for their second title in 4 years.

No goalie is more in the zone at the moment than the Kings Jonathan Quick. The 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner has only allowed 20 goals in 13 postseason games while carrying Los Angeles to its second straight conference final. He leads the playoffs in GAA (1.50), save % (.948), and shutouts (3). The Kings are fortunate to have him since their offense has bogged down at times. The kings have gotten Stoll back, which is in fact a positive.

The Hawks have home ice advantage and back-to-back games in their arena. This is where they could head to LA up 2-0. This will be a good series to follow. Look for Quick and the Kings to play physical. The Hawks will hope to try and take advantage of home ice while letting their offensive juggernauts run loose.

The Bruins, Penguins, Blackhawks, and Kings all have legitimate chances of winning it all. Each club is strikingly similar and possesses immense talent and depth. Look for each series to be an all out war. There is no distinct advantage amongst any of these teams.

Bryan Bernard – NHL Contributor – TitleTown Sports
 

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