BOSTON (CBS) – Mark Madden from 105.9 The X in Pittsburgh joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh and Zolak on Thursday, giving his take on the upcoming Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.
When things get underway in Pittsburgh on Saturday, there is a chance Boston breaks up their star defensive duo of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. While fans never want to see those two apart on the blue line, it could cause some matchup issues for the Penguins.
“They have to concern themselves for something, because matchups are the one advantage the Bruins can seize,” said Madden. “I think Bergeron is going to center against Crosby, and that’s a rough decision because Bergeron is the best defensive center in Hockey, but he’s also Boston’s best offensive threat. So do you throw his offense out the window for the sake of shackling Crosby, which may not work because Crosby is Crosby?”
“I think Chara will play against Malkin and Neal, and the added benefit is that will keep Chara away from Chris Kunitz – who plays on the Crosby line. He finishes every check and hits hard, and would wear out Chara over the course of the series,” said Madden. “I think Chara is just about worn out. The week break benefits him more than anyone else, because at the end of the Rangers series he looked used up.”
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Madden also had some less-than-flattering things to say about Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.
“Tuukka Rask is an average goaltender, no better,” he said. “He isn’t a Tim Thomas, and any stats he’s put up is by benefit of the great Boston defense and a great Boston defensive philosophy in front of him. Look at how Rask played in the Rangers series; he looked like a clown act out there. The Penguins will take a huge advantage of that, no matter how (Tomas) Vokoun plays, Rask being the weak link for Boston, may decide the series.”
But Madden wasn’t done. He doesn’t think Torey Krug can keep his stellar play going against the Penguins.
“One other guy I think is going to be a weak link for Boston is Krug. He shot the eyes out of the puck against the Rangers, but he’s five-foot-nothing, (weighs) 100-nothing, and he’s going to be a liability on defense with guys like Iginla and Morrow – guys who go to the net with the passion the Bruins do.”
Madden did say he could see Jaromir Jagr rising to the occasion this series, and wouldn’t be surprised if Tyler Seguin breaks out as well.
“A guy who could win the series against Boston is Tyler Seguin. He plays great against the Penguins, and the more he plays the better,” he said. “If they get him in the top six, that is Boston’s best bet. If Bergeron can neutralize Crosby, and Seguin can come through offensively, they have a chance in this series.”
“I think that goaltending is probably a wash, defense a slight advantage to Boston — as long as they don’t put Wade Redden back in — but I think Pittsburgh has a big advantage up front just based on star power,” said Madden.
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