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PHT Predicts: Penguins vs. Lightning – Who do you have?

Apr 11, 2011, 4:52 PM EDT

Pascal Dupuis, Nate Thompson AP

All right so there’s probably not going to be any Sidney Crosby and there definitely won’t be Evgeni Malkin, but the Penguins have Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury still and they did nearly win the Atlantic Division. They’ll be matched up against the phenomenal Steve Stamkos, diminutive star Martin St. Louis, and the venerable Vincent Lecavalier in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

With Fleury matching up against Dwayne Roloson for Tampa Bay and the Lightning bringing the bulk of the star power in this series, we’re left wondering just who you’ve got in this series. Here’s how we’re looking at things.

James says:
The Penguins have been impressive and resilient this season, but I just don’t know if they can grind out four wins against the Lightning. Only the Vancouver Canucks scored more power play goals than the Lightning in 2010-11 while Pittsburgh is all the way in 19th place. My guess is that the Bolts will get some crucial “easy” goals on the man advantage and will use their superior scoring depth against the star-starved Penguins.

Is Marc-Andre Fleury so superior to Dwayne Roloson that Pittsburgh can overcome those disparities? I’ll guess that the answer is “No.”

It’s the Lightning in 6, while Martin St. Louis stands up and asks, “So why exactly don’t I get Hart Trophy attention? Are voters Heightists or something?”

Matt says:
In one corner we have a team that has been through the battles—on the other, we have a team that has two players who have won a cup and a line-up full of youngsters.  I’m a big believer in the idea that a team has to learn how to play in the playoffs and this looks like it could be a learning experience for a lot of the guys in Tampa Bay.  The Penguins went to the Cup Finals two seasons in a row until last season—when a weak defensive corps couldn’t hang when the games got tougher in the playoffs.  Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek should fix that; the Pens will be able to sneak by on the strength of their defensive game this time.

The Lightning will learn lessons for next year, but Penguins in 5.

Joe says:
Tampa has the dangerous offense and the streaky goalie. Pittsburgh has the stingy, rugged defense and the playoff-tested lights out goalie. I like a lot of what Tampa Bay has but I don’t know that they can hang with the Penguins in what should be a knockdown, drag-out series. Penguins in 7.

What say you faithful PHT readers? Think we’re playing favorites with the Pens or downplaying the Lightning? Vote in our poll and let us know.

  1. gocaps8 - Apr 11, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    I’d like to see a TB upset, but most of this team has very limited playoff experience. Even without Crosby, the Lightning aren’t going to knock off a team with a solid netminder who has won a Cup.

    Pens in 6.

  2. jpelle82 - Apr 11, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    pens win this series but not too much faith in them going much further…for crosby’s future health i hope he doesnt play, playoff hockey is way to fast to get acclimated to after not playing for 3 months. they will be headhunting him if he suits up, he needs to be on the shelf until training camp

  3. sportsinhd - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    This series obviously doesn’t matter in the States since it’s barely on television. Two out of the possible seven games are on TV? This is why you are a second rate sport NHL.

  4. balewsquare - Apr 12, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    I feel like this series favors the Penguins. Sure, they don’t have their stars, but when did that hurt them during the year? Crosby wasn’t there when they made a huge push for the division title.

  5. jsburg - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    If anyone thinks that the Penguins cant win this series and go all the way then they did not pay any attention to the season and especially the last part of the season. They were on fire and the only reason that they didnt finish at the top of the Conference is the poor scoring system being used in the NHL. And another thing, what is the deal with, and listen up for a minute VERSUS TV, the total snubbing going on right now by the morons at Versus. The disrespect you are showing the Penguins in this first round by not showing a single game is disgusting, yeah we all want to keep watching every single minute of the Canucks and the Kings and the Sharks, I checked the guide out for 2 weeks and nothing and NBC covering hockey, thats just a joke. I cant stand Tampa but I’m sure their fans would agree. On the night of game 1, you even snubbed them off your score ticker on the bottom of your broadcast. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM??
    Oh and its sad when the only chance teams have to beat a great team is because of cheap head-hunting hockey that was designed to take out one of the greatest players ever to lace up the skates.

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