Penguins-Flyers Battle Stars Sid the Kid and Amazing Evgeni Malkin

Brian SausaCorrespondent IMay 7, 2008

The NHL Eastern Conference Finals are sure to be two extremely entertaining series. 

A scrappy group of Philadelphia Flyers are fresh off convincingly beating the number one seeded Montreal Canadiens in five games. 

Their interstate opponents, hailing from the West, are the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins also won their series in five games, topping the New York Rangers. 

Now these two meet for the right to represent the Eastern Conference of the NHL in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The finessed Penguins razzle-dazzle with young studs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.  Many people like to argue about which phenom is better. 

I don't think it matters since they are on the same team and complement each other like peanut butter compliments jelly. Crafty vets, such as Marian Hossa and Gary Roberts, make this team extremely dangerous.

On top of that, I'm sure that Pittsburgh's talented goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury plans to make it difficult for the boys from Philly.

On the flip side: the Philadelphia Flyers.  Led mostly by young players, the talented Flyers have used grit, hustle, and lots of speed to win the two series thus far. 

Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and R.J. Umberger lead the attack on opponents and are extremely successful.  Seasoned veteran defenseman Derian Hatcher holds the group together.  Minding the net is Martin Biron, a standout in the league, and a clutch playoff performer in the playoffs thus far. 

This is, flat out, a hard team to beat four times out of seven.


My Prediction 

There are pros to both teams.  They are both very good at executing their game plans.  The Flyers dump and chase and use their speed, while the Penguins play a tic-tac-toe passing game that is fun to watch. 

Both styles are the beauty of hockey itself—old school dump and chase, crashing the boards versus the finesse of Pittsburgh's young and talented players. 

The Penguins have more talent than the Flyers, so they will win this series in six games, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it go the distance. 

This is a hard-fought interstate and inter-division series.  Ultimately, the Pens will emerge victorious because the Flyers' defensive corps, as a whole, will not be able to hold the offensive talent of Pittsburgh, led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Philadelphia will fight hard and win a couple of games. But overall, Sid and Malkin will get the job done, doing what they do best.

When 87 and 71 are out on the ice, great things happen.