The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

May 1, 2014

NHL playoff 2nd-round preview capsule

A capsule look at the second round of the NHL playoffs (all times EDT):

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EASTERN CONFERENCE

BOSTON vs MONTREAL

FIRST ROUND: Bruins beat Detroit in five games. Canadiens beat Tampa Bay in four games.

SEASON SERIES: Canadiens won 3-1.

STORY LINE: The Original Six teams are resuming their historic rivalry. Boston, the defending conference and 2011 Stanley Cup champions, was impressive in beating Detroit. The Bruins had 10 different scorers combine for 14 goals against the Red Wings while playing sound defense in front of a world-class goaltender. Montreal, the only Canadian-based team to earn a spot in the playoffs, was the only club to advance with a first-round sweep. The storied franchise is aiming for its first trip to the Eastern Conference finals in four years and just its second since hoisting the Stanley Cup in 1993.

BOSTON'S KEY PLAYER: Tuukka Rask. The goaltender gave up just six goals over five games against the Red Wings. Boston will be tough to beat if he can keep up his stellar play against a team that averaged four goals a game in sweeping Tampa Bay. Rask benefits from a defensive scheme that pushes opponents to the outside with skaters who aggressively use their sticks to snag pucks and block shots.

MONTREAL'S KEY PLAYER: Max Pacioretty. The team's leading scorer the last three regular seasons was relatively quiet against the Lightning, scoring one goal — albeit the game-winner in Game 4 — and making one assist after a pointless postseason last year. The Habs have to get offensive production out of the 6-foot-2, 217-pound forward to beat the defensive-minded Bruins.

GAME 1: Thursday at Boston, 7:30 p.m.

PREDICTION: Bruins in 7.

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PITTSBURGH vs. NEW YORK RANGERS

FIRST ROUND: Penguins beat Columbus in six games. Rangers beat Philadelphia in seven games.

SEASON SERIES: Tied 2-2.

STORY LINE: The Metropolitan-champion Penguins won their division by the largest margin in the NHL, earning 13 more points than the second-place Rangers. But Pittsburgh lost the series opener against New York 5-1 and was outscored 13-12 over four games. Pittsburgh may have rest on its side, having had three full days after eliminating the Blue Jackets. The Penguins will host Game 1 on Friday night, just two days after the Rangers' grueling series against the Flyers.

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