PREVIEW: Breaking Down The Matchups

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tonight, the Eastern Conference Semifinals begin for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins up in Providence at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. EDT.

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More reading to get yourself caught up on everything if you didn't read up on it already:

Alex Grant and Bobby Farnham talk about facing the Bruins

Know Your Opponent: Providence Bruins Edition

After the jump, a position-by-position breakdown and a bold prediction for round two.


Penguins - Holzapfel/Smith/Kolarik - Nesbitt/Gibbons/Thompson - Collins/Peters/Payerl - Farnham/Sill/Megna

Bruins - Bourque/Spooner/Tardif - Cunningham/Camper/Caron - MacKinnon/Whitfield/Mink - Florek/Hanson/Robins

The Penguins have the finishers in Chad Kolarik, Riley Holzapfel and Trevor Smith. They have secondary scoring and while they might not score in bunches, they have gotten the timely scoring thus far in the 2013 Playoffs. The Bruins also have a well-balanced forward core with some familiar names. Both teams play a defensive style and try to impose their will on their counterpart. Edge: Bruins


Penguins - Reese/Dumoulin - Mormina/Samuelsson - McNeill/Grant
Bruins - Exelby/Krug - Warsofsky/Miller - Cross/Trotman

The Penguins defensive core has been solid regardless of who's been back there. They are 31-2-1-2 when they allow three or less goals. The Bruins were the 2nd best defensive team in the regular season, but the loss of Pittsburgh native Matt Bartkowski tips the scale. Edge: Penguins


Penguins - Jeff Zatkoff (2-0, 1.87 GAA, .945 SV%, 0 SO)
Bruins - Niklas Svedberg (3-2, 3.52 GAA, .887 SV%, 0 SO)

Zatkoff missed Game Three of the first round due to a food poisoning incident, but is more than ready to go for this game tonight. He's been rock solid and that will need to continue if the Penguins want to advance to the Conference Finals. Svedberg had a great rookie regular season, but has shown signs of struggle in the playoffs. Experience over youth in this one. Edge: Penguins

Special Teams

The Penguins power play has had its fair share of troubles but wasn't too bad in the first round. Their penalty kill was tops in the league during the regular season and just as impressive in the first round. The Bruins power play is dangerous and they can use that to change the dynamic of the game. Their penalty kill isn't poor by any stretch of the imagination, but they were shorthanded an average of five times a game through the first five games of the postseason. Edge: We'll call it even.


The Penguins come in well rested and level-headed. The Bruins are coming off an emotionally taxing five game series which saw them pushed to the brink of elimination. While the advantage may fall the Bruins way early in Game One, I don't think it's enough to keep the Bruins afloat for too long. The Hershey Bears exploited the Bruins in the first two games last round and its the Penguins job to make a repeat of that. If the Penguins can rattle the rookie goaltender, continue to get timely goal scoring from guys not on the top line and play solid defense, the Penguins will advance to the Conference Finals. Not saying this will be easy, but remember it's a bold one. My pick: Penguins in five.


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