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Quick Thoughts - Pens Advance

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The Penguins eliminate the Capitals and two game sevens will decide the West

Alex Ovechkin congratulates Evgeni Malkin after Caps are eliminated by Penguins in game six.
Alex Ovechkin congratulates Evgeni Malkin after Caps are eliminated by Penguins in game six.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins are moving on.  I must admit, I thought the Caps would at least make it to the conference finals this year.  While recent history will tell us that it's unusual for President Trophy winners to have ultimate postseason success, these Capitals seemed built for the playoffs.

A team is only as good as it's weakest player though and Brooks Orpik quite simply was not very cerebral in this series.

The Pens are red hot at the right time and seem to have great chemistry.  While last season was a disappointment, congratulations should to Jim Rutherford for making several savvy moves this season.   Correcting his head coaching hire was probably at the top of the list, but bringing in Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Trevor Daley certainly worked out very well for him.

Phil Kessel has looked very good as well, but these long term contracts can look great one year and not so great the next.

Regardless of how good the Pens look I am picking the Lightning in the conference finals.  Matt Murray's bubble has to burst sometime, right?

Some great hockey is coming up the next two nights as the Sharks take on Preds and the Blues travel to Dallas.  It's nice to see some new blood in the mix over there.  I have already predicted that the Sharks and Blues will advance but it won't be easy to go against the Stars in their home arena.