Call me a homer, I don't care. The Pens are going to crack Halak, who humiliated the No. 1 seeded Washington Capitals in the first round. Halak was a big reason the Habs held the Caps to just one goal in 33 powerplay attempts. And it's true that in the regular season the Caps' powerplay was much better than the Pens', which was a joke on numerous occasions.
This Pens team is built for the playoffs, though. The Caps were not.
Despite having very skilled players, the Pens don't rely on the finesse the Caps do. The Pens score gritty goals in front of the net with deflections and rebounds. They don't just shoot for the heck of it. They work a play and wait for an opening.
Halak was seeing a lot of the shots the Caps threw at him. He is going to have a hard time doing that with the likes of Bill Guerin, Max Talbot and Matt Cooke screening him all game. Throw Sidney Crosby's unique ability to find the puck in traffic, and Halak is going to have a rough go of it.
Don't believe me, just look at last year's postseason. The Caps' Semyon Varlamov was lights out against the New York Rangers, before being shelled by the Pens in the next round. Then there was the Carolina Hurricanes' Cam Ward. Members of the media were practically crowning him as the Con Smythe after two rounds. Well, four games later and he and his team were out and probably wondering what the hell just happened.
That brings us to Chris Osgood. He had a 2.01 goals against average and almost 93 percent save percentage in the postseason last year, played well against Pittsburgh, but the Pens still got the best of him in the biggest moments of the series.
I understand that all of these references are from last year. All I'm saying is the Pens have a history of solving hot goaltenders when the situation calls for it and there is not reason to think it won't continue this year.
Warren Zevon - Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song)