A little late on the Eastern Conference Preview as all of the first games of the series have been completed, but #YOLO here we go.
Senators v. Bruins: Jean-Gabriel Pageau
The hometown hero gets the lucky draw of attempting to mark Patrice Bergeron for the entire series. Patrice Bergeron is a three time Selke Trophy winner signifying how complete his game is, from goal scoring to the face-off dot to defense and fore-check. He is a magician on the face-off, where he wins roughly 62% (WCS Sabermetrics show 69% but whatever…) of his draws. Bergeron contributed 21 goals and set the tone for his line that includes 39-goal scorer, Brad Marchand, and David Backes. If Pageau can split the face-off draws and frustrate Bergeron on both ends of the ice, then the Senators may be able to pull-off the upset of the Bruins – one of the best teams in the NHL since their mid-season coaching change.
Even if Pageau struggles this next week and Ottawa takes an early exit from the playoffs, he will still be winning the “Game of Life” with his girlfriend, Camille Beeby. It is good to be the hometown hero!
Rangers v. Canadians: Mike Keenan
(Worth Noting: Boz said that he wanted Taylor to write on this one… So that may explain the player selected and the following write-up… And the overall lack of hockey knowledge and absurd flame-throwing hatred)
Who is “Mike Keenan”? Fair question. Well Junior, he was relevant the last time the rest of the NHL had to worry about the Rangers being serious about winning a title. He led the Blueshirts to Lourde Stanley’s Cup back in 1994.
Game 1 was… WHATEVER!! The Canadians will do what the only thing Canadians are good at – play some fawking HAWKEY. Rangers fans can eat a fat one. After winning Game 1, I hope the Garden yields you nothing and we can be done with you in five.
Penguins v. Blue Jackets: Evgeni Malkin
An easy one here. Evgeni is only a 30 years old hockey player, but he is as healthy as a 35 year old running back. Last night, he returned from missing the last 13 games of the regular season and immediately contributed two assists in Pittsburgh’s dominate second period. If Malkin is actually healthy and not just toughing it out through injuries, which is impossible to tell in the sport of hockey where missing teeth are a merit badge, then the Penguins have a strong chance to return to the Finals and defend their title.
Capitals v. Maple Leafs – Brooks Orpik
I have yet to name a defensemen, so I give you Brooks Orpik. Brooks finished in a tie for third in plus/minus this year with a +32. He is a pure defenseman with zero goals on the season. Yes, 82 games and he had ZERO goals! No juicy rebounds off an Oshie miss, No blasts past a goalie through a Justin Williams screen, the team couldn’t even get him an empty-netter on the President Trophy winning team. Nevertheless, the Blue Jackets are young and it will be Orpik and his defensive mates job to attempt to slow them down and finally get the Capitals to the Finals, in which they seem destined for every year.
You’ll Never Forget Your First (Round),