Finally! This nightmare of a pool (except for our two eventual money winners) is almost over. With very little compete in this springtime session, we've got one more series left for all the beans.
The San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins will open up the last series of the Spring tomorrow night in the Steel City, a 6pm MT start on CBC, for those interested in taking a gander.
By all accounts, this match-up is an interesting one, with the Sharks, who are making their first trip to the Finals, taking on a team that has already won two Cups with their core group of players. It will certainly be a good match-up of a team that craves that first championship against a team that knows how to win it.
We know both teams have the ability to score, I don't think there are many questions, in terms of offense, but it will be a matter of the blueline match-up and the dueling goalies, that should make all of the difference in this one. If we were to take the offense out of this, I would lean to the calm, cool collected side of Brent Burns and the Sharks' defense over the Penguins and possibly Martin Jones over Matt Murray, as the favoured sides.
But it's very hard to bet against experience. Between Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, they are rocking all kinds of experience and have the rings to prove it. If Marc-Andre Fleury was to dress as the starter for a game or two... or three... you're just adding more fuel to the fire.
The top four teams in the hockey pool have a lot of separation between all of them, too much to overcome with only two teams left and some overlap between the players taken over each team. Stuart and Kristy, should have no problem cruising to money finishes, unless there is some sort of catastrophic injury-plagued finish of Game 1 of the series and it knocks out a number of key players, but that's just too crazy to think of.
Not that the pool has been right very often in these playoffs, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are the favourites, according to the pool selections and it's by a fair margin as well, 108-38. With the Penguins having home-ice advantage, this series has some potential to be very quick, but these two teams are too much alike to not trade punches and go six or seven games. It will be a good one to watch. Enjoy!