Daniel Alfredsson took a lot of heat for referring to the thought that his Sens would have a tough time recovering for their 3-1 deficit in the series due to the depth and skill of the Penguins. Well, the Penguins have five players who have MORE than a point per game in these playoffs including Malkin, Letang, Crosby, Iginla, and Neal. Also Dupuis, Kunitz, and Martin are flirting with a point per game. Umm, that would be what they call scoring balance! As for team statistics, the Penguins still have the most goals per game of the remaining playoff teams at 4.27 goals per game, and the worst goals against per game at 2.54. I am hopeful that the Pens can work a bit on the goals against, but when you score more than 4 and allow less than 3, it is still a pretty good goal differential. Special teams have been a positive for Pittsburgh, with the power play tops in the league, clicking at 28.3% and the Penalty Kill second only to Chicago at 89.7%. That is a combination of special teams stats that could net you the Cup. One caution about the stunning special teams play is that the Penguins have also given up 3 short handed goals, the most in the league for the playoffs. That is an area that needs to be locked down going forward.
Another note to consider going forward is that Pittsburgh is 8-1 in their past nine games against both Boston and New York, so they have been a bit of match up nightmare for both clubs. What does that all mean? Probably nothing, as each series is a different animal, and the playoffs are FAR different than regular season games. That said, it seems as if the Penguins are taking advantage of the depth they can bring to a series to eventually wear an opponent down. Vokoun is making the saves he needs to make, and even after a softie or two in the middle of this series, he always made the saves he needed to make. What's more is the fact the Penguins also have guys like Brandon Sutter, Brendan Morrow, and Tyler Kennedy who may not always show up on the score sheet, but tend to do so with BIG goals when they do. The Pens will most likely face Boston in the Conference Finals next week, and the Bruins sure do look like a handful right now. I was wavering on the Penguins chances against Boston, but I need to remember how a seven game SERIES can unfold with a cumulative effect of a team who can roll out the kind of depth of scoring and toughness that Pittsburgh can. I am warming to the idea of Pittsburgh returning to the Stanley Cup Finals after a tough 6 game series with Boston.