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Bruins face Penguins in Eastern Conference Finals

And then there were just two. Saturday night, the two teams left standing in the NHL’s Eastern Conference start their best of seven final series to see which one moves on to play in the Stanley Cup finals.

The Pittsburgh Penguins seeded No. 1 in the conference host the Boston Bruins the No. 4 seed Saturday night in game 1.

The Penguins and Bruins are the last two teams from the Eastern Conference to win the Stanley Cup.

These two teams have not played head to head in the postseason since 1992. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of dislike between them. A number of reasons exist why one team does not like the other. To start, Jarome Inginla, the former captain of the Calgary Flames who opted to play in Pittsburgh instead of Boston at the trade deadline this season.

The Bruins have a former great with the Penguins, Jaromir Jagr in uniform. However, the biggest hatred between them is the blindside shot Bruins Marc Savard took from Matt Cooke of the Penguins back in March of 2010.

Bitterness aside, the Bruins will be facing one of the strongest offenses in the NHL. The Penguins have Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, James Neal and Iginla. In 11 games in the postseason, the Penguins have 47 goals, with 13 coming on the power play. This type of scoring has not been seen in the postseason in more than two decades.

In the first round of the playoffs, the New York Islanders did not succeed in slowing down the Pens and the Ottawa Senators were not any more successful in the semifinals of the conference.

However, the Boston defense, led by Zdeno Chara their captain are a better defense unit than both the Senators and Islanders are. They can also skate with Pittsburgh and can be more physical with the lightening fast Pens.

Pittsburgh not only has a great offense, their goaltender is playing as good as any other in the NHL. Tomas Vokoun has limited postseason experience but has lost just once thus far in the playoffs and only the Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick has a save percentage better than Vokoun.

Boston however, will provide the biggest test thus far for Vokoun, as they are second in the playoffs with a 3.17 goals per game average, have great scoring depth and are dominate on face offs.

During the regular season, the Penguins won all three head to head games with the Bruins. All three games were decided by a single goal.

The goaltending will have a huge impact on this series with the Bruins’ Tuukka Rask facing a barrage of shots.

If he can come up big and keep the games close, the Bruins could steal a goal here and there and give the Penguins fits.  Vokoun was 2-0 versus Boston during the regular season, but the postseason is far different than the regular season.

However, look for the Penguins to take this series in six. For all the odds from BettingSports for this series and game 1 click here.

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