4 Pittsburgh Penguins v 5 Tampa Bay Lightning
The Pittsburgh Penguins will go into the playoffs without superstar Sidney Crosby, which means that other players will have to step up and whine incessantly to the refs in Crosby’s absence. Also absent is talented forward Evgeni Malkin. This Pens lineup is like the final cast of the TV show MASH; a few familiar faces, but not as good as when the real people were on. They do have the solid, hyphenated goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury, which will always make them competitive.
In the Lightning’s favor, they are a difficult team to scout because no one watches hockey in Tampa. They have a number of talented forwards en francais, including Vincent Lecavalier (pronounced “STAM-kos”), Simon Gagne (pronounced “future considerations”), and Martin St. Louis (pronounced “LAY-dee bing”), who, for the fifth time in the last six seasons, is as close as the city of St. Louis has come to the NHL playoffs. They also have a new GM in Hall-of-Famer Steve Yzerman, who is trying to instill the winning ways he learned in Detroit by bringing in a bunch of Russian players, serving octopus at team meals, and showing the team that Eminem Chrysler commercial from the Super Bowl.
These should be fast-paced, exciting games, featuring star players whom no one has ever heard of. So…kinda like soccer.
KEY MATCHUP: Sidney Crosby v Blurred vision
The Pens are a good, well-coached team, but they will miss Sid, who is still suffering from concussion. It’s probably just as well; the kid can’t grow a playoff beard anyway.
Lightning in 6.
Can we just take a second to reflect on how dumb “Lightning” is as a team nickname? It is such a bad name, the team designed special uniforms solely to call themselves something else.
But, on to our next Guardian. The Lightning’s “most devastating” weapon is an energized rod that he creates in the palm of his hand, which makes him sound like a high school freshman with a Maxim subscription. Perhaps he guards his team by hiding it under his bed.
According to his bio, he is a “natural ladies man” “complete with an electric blue Mohawk,” which may be the first time those phrases have appeared so close to one another.
Also, he can move “at the speed of lightning,” which, given his name, is not particularly impressive. I do not boast about moving at the speed of Tobin.
Not listed here is that The Lightning possesses a cloak of invisibility. His team could win a Stanley Cup, for example, and nobody would even notice.