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Senators-Penguins Predictions

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Predictions for the Eastern Conference Finals

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1) The Penguins have the highest shooting percentage through two rounds. Does this continue?

Adnan: Yes. Anderson will struggle in my opinion.

Beata: Yes, I think it will continue. Anderson hasn't looked great so far, and our defense will almost definitely give up plenty of high-end chances.

B_T: I think it drops, but not enough and still ends up as the highest in the playoffs. Andy struggled in the Rangers series at times, and the Pens have already embarrassed the other two of the top three regular season sv% goalies.

Colin: Sitting at 12.3%, I think it comes down at least little (the regular season leader was at 10.5%). Let's just hope Craig Anderson doesn't implode the way Braden Holtby did in round two, and Pittsburgh's shooting percentage will slowly start to go from "unsustainably good" to just "extremely good".

Callum: Yes. I think Craig Anderson is a strong No. 1 goalie in this league, but for whatever reason he tends to get blown out by the Penguins, especially in the playoffs.

Ian: The shooting percentage has to drop. Outside of games three and four in New York, the Sens did a decent job of limiting the high quality scoring chances. For this to happen, of course Anderson will have to stay in his net!

nkb: If there ever was a team that might be able to sustain unreasonably high shooting percentages over a long period of time, it's this Penguins team. The Sens will limit this somewhat by taking away more odd man rushes but I don't expect Craig Anderson to have a stellar save percentage in this one.

Ross: The Penguins' forwards are good, Ottawa's defence isn't great, and they've been involved in some relatively high-scoring games. I think it continues.

Trevor: Over time, shooting percentages will stabilize. However, in such a short playoff series, that might not be the case. The Penguins have one of the best, if not the best forward groups in the league, so I think they'll still be able to score a lot of goals and have a high-ish shooting percentage. This has a chance to be a high-scoring series.

2) The flip side, the Penguins have allowed (by far) the most shots against per 60 in the playoffs. Will that be the case in the third round?

Adnan: No. I feel Guy Boucher will try to make it as low event a game as possible. That will make luck and randomness a bigger factor, which should give Ottawa a better chance.

Beata: I think the numbers will go down for sure. The Sens just aren't capable of generating as much offense as the Capitals.

B_T: Like the first question, I think it comes down but still ends up the highest in the round again.

Colin: I'm expecting the phrase "defence by offence" to apply to the Penguins this series, as their forward corps is just that good. Ottawa will struggle to get a balanced amount of zone time, which in turn limits their shots for and decreasing Pittsburgh's shots against.

Callum: No, this series will be very close possession-wise. Washington was a fantastic team and Pittsburgh was always leading against Columbus, hence the high shots against.

Ian: The Sens' offence can't really compare to that of the Capitals, so I don't see how they will be able to produce as many shots as Washington did.

nkb: Ottawa is going to get less shots than Washington did, simply by virtue of not having Washingnton's offense. That said, Pittsburgh's defense is pretty porous; Ottawa should be able to crack 33-35 shots a night without too much trouble.

Ross: Probably? Boucher is pretty good at picking out a team's weaknesses. Obviously the Sens are no Capitals, but they can generate a lot of offence through Erik Karlsson.

Trevor: The Penguins got killed by the Capitals in the shot department, but Washington was the best team in the league since October. So I think Pittsburgh should improve in this regard, but they will still allow more shots than they would like.

3) How many odd man rushes will the Sens allow per game?

Adnan: I have no idea so I will just say 3.33 for reasons.

Beata: 5, but it will feel like 500.

B_T: Fewer than against the Rangers, but they’ll probably be more dangerous.

Colin: Too many.

Callum: No idea what the norm is, but I'll go with 5.

Ian: If the Sens want to win this series, this is where they need to come up big. 5-on-5 within the zone, the System can keep the Penguins at bay, but if they give up bonus chances on the rush - going to be too difficult to stay in the game.

nkb: I don't have any context to give a specific number but instead I'd say Ottawa can win by limiting Pittsburgh's odd man rushes to 4-on-3 instead of 2-on-1. This might be the series to dial back the aggressive pinching on the left side for just that reason.

Ross: 2.32

Trevor: The Rangers are one of the best transition teams in the league, and it showed against the Senators. The Penguins are an incredibly fast team as well, so I'll say they allow just a bit less than in round two, but still too many per game.

4) Penguins PP is 21.6% in the playoffs, the Sens PK% is 87.5%. Which gets worse?

Adnan: Cody Ceci is near the top of NHL penalty kill ice time. The PK% gets worse.

Beata: I think the Sens' PK gets much worse. We just can't hope to contain that much offensive talent.

B_T: Both will get worse, but I think it’s the Penguins power play that drops more.

Colin: I think the Sens' PK will come down more, as they're currently allowing the 4th most shot attempts against per 60 minutes at 4v5. Pittsburgh's still in the top five for shot attempts on the power play, so I think that's much more likely to stay afloat.

Callum: Senators' PK gets far worse. That Pens power play is scary.

Ian: The Penguins powerplay is going to drop off from that huge mark, the Sens have done a solid job of keeping the shots to the outside and limiting passes through the box.

nkb: The Sens' PK has done more than just get results, they've looked the part too. If Ottawa is going to win this series, they'll need a hot run shorthanded and fortunately I think that's possible here

Ross: The Sens' PK. I think they were a little fortunate to only allow one PP goal against the Rangers. I think Pittsburgh will make them pay for penalties.

Trevor: Both are bound to drop, but I'll say Ottawa's PK drops slightly more. 21% isn't an insanely high number, and the Penguins powerplay has scared me for years. Keeping an 87.5 PK% is asking a lot on the team's defense and Craig Anderson.

5) Round 1 saw somewhat unexpected production from Ryan, Brassard and Phaneuf. Round 2 was the return of Playoff Hero Pageau. Who is the Sens dark horse for hero status this round?

Adnan: Chris Neil yells BOO! as Sidney Crosby skates down the boards for a breakaway. Crosby is intimidated and loses the puck. TSN 1200 does not broadcast the following game and talks about Chris Neil instead.

Beata: Mark Stone has looked great in these last two games, so I'll say he keeps it up, scores some timely goals, and briefly becomes the most hated hockey player in Pittsburgh due to his exuberant goal celebrations.

B_T: Zack Smith is going to score a few timely, dirty goals.

Colin: Mark Stone has seven goals in seven career games against Pittsburgh, including the most memorable from the Hamburglar run. His two-way flair will come back in the third round, with the rest of the league finally giving him some recognition. #SelkeStone

Callum: Viktor Stalberg. He's looked good, but hasn't contributed offensively yet.

Ian: I'm going to say Craig Anderson in this one. The Sens will need to rely on him to have the series of his life in order to win this one.

nkb: Ryan Dzingel has to play this series -- his speed is too valuable for him by too and I think he's gonna breakout with the added chance.

Ross: Burrows. His game is built for the playoffs, after all.

Trevor: I'll go with Zack Smith. He's one of the few forwards who has yet to really show up and make a big impact at some point. He'll have his moment this series.

6) What is your series prediction?

Adnan: Pens in six. The Sens are over matched everywhere but Erik Karlsson carries them to two victories on his own.

Beata: It's worked twice before, so Sens in 7!

B_T: Part head, part heart - Sens in 7

Colin: Pittsburgh in six. Correct, and I still have hope in my family playoff pool. Wrong, and the Sens win!

Callum: I'll continue my reverse jinx on the team and go Pens in 5. (But this time I actually believe it)

Ian: Sens in 6!

nkb: Sens gonna shock the world in game 7, overtime

Ross: Sens in 5, because I can't pick Pittsburgh.

Trevor: I picked the Sens to lose in the first two rounds, and it worked both times. So I'll go against them again and say Penguins in 6.