Puck Playoffs by Kevin Stott for Fri., April 11,2008

April 11, 2008 7:26 PM
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Philadelphia Flyers at Washington Capitals (-155): The puck drops in this series tonight in Our Nation’s Capital and although Washington improved in goal with the acquisition of Huet and the Flyers have Biron in net, there is just too much energy and too many talented skaters who can put the biscuit in the basket in this one. The Caps’ Ovechkin led the NHL in scoring while Philly has seven 20 goal scorers led by Briere, Richards, Prospal and Knuble. In the regular season series (2-2), the two teams averaged 7.25 goals (5,7,10,7) per game. This will be a fast-paced game. OVER 5˝.

Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins (-220): Although the Senators won the season series, 3-1, it was all Pittsburgh in the opener (4-0) as Gary Roberts notched two goals at The Igloo and Marc-Andre Fleury was stellar between the pipes as the Penguins won their ninth straight game in the Steel City. Expect a lot of the same in this one as Ottawa is without star Daniel Alfredsson and just can’t match the scoring power of the Pens’ Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marian Hossa. Pittsburgh heads to Ottawa for Game 3 on Monday and runs the risk of losing the home-ice advantage it worked so hard to get in this one.

In net, the defending Eastern Conference champions are pretty average with Martin Gerber and Ray Emery while Pittsburgh has Fleury and Ty Conklin. You have to think that the Penguins are feeling pretty good about themselves heading into this skate while Ottawa – still seeking its first postseason goal – will be pressing to try and get ahead early and not have a repeat of Game 1. The more relaxed team will ice the more nervous team in this case. And who survives better in igloos, Senators or Penguins? PENGUINS.

Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild (-130): After watching Game 1 on Wednesday night in St. Paul (COL 3-2, OT), it’s quite evident the Wild don’t have the number of threats on offense that the Avalanche do and will have to rely too much on their defense to try and win this series. Between the pipes, Minnesota’s Backstrom played a solid game in the opener but the Avs’ Theodore was a little bit better. Minnesota has already lost the home-ice advantage and will really be pressing in this one not to head to Denver down 2-0. Advantage Avalanche as Minnesota just doesn’t have the postseason experience that Colorado does. And getting Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote back doesn’t hurt either. AVALANCHE.