BOSTON (CBS) – The NHL postseason kicks off Wednesday night and Kathryn Tappen of the NHL Network appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show Tuesday morning for a playoff preview.
As the no. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins are thought to have a tough first round matchup against the Detroit Red Wings, but it is another high seed in danger of an upset according to Kathryn Tappen.
Tappen is predicting a early exit for Dan Bylsma’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I think Columbus [will pull the upset]. I really do. Their goaltender in [Sergei] Bobrovsky has been outstanding. They’ve got really good young talent. Ryan Johansen has picked his game up hugely in the last couple weeks of the regular season here, and Pittsburgh’s got some major injuries. They’ve obviously struggled since the Olympic break.
“I could see Columbus over Pittsburgh in the East. I’ve got Columbus, for sure.”
The expectation in Pittsburgh is that they reach the Cup finals, if not Tappen expects “major shakeups” to take place, including a possible head coaching change.
“It’s ‘Cup or die’ there in Pittsburgh, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens. There’s a ton of pressure on the Penguins to get back to the Finals.
“The Blue Jackets play a hard style, almost like the Boston Bruins. They’re really physical and will take it right to Pittsburgh, and I don’t think the Penguins are the type of team that likes that very much, and Columbus knows that.”
As far as the hometown team goes, Tappen is expecting a tough go for the Bruins in the first round — especially if Henrik Zetterberg returns. Zetterberg will likely miss the two games over the weekend, but is expected back at some point.
Tappen has a hunch Zetterberg will be back for game five, and aside from him the Red Wings have always given the B’s trouble, so that’s something to keep an eye on.
“Detroit is so good right now. They’re playing so well. The young talent has been great stepping up in big positions. Pavel Datsyuk is back and playing well. Detroit plays their own style. I think they’re one of the few teams that Boston has faced that doesn’t try and play Boston’s game, which gets a lot of teams into trouble as we’ve seen.
“Detroit is so talented and skilled and they’re gonna rely on that against a very physical Bruins team,” said Tappen.
Are you in agreement with Kathryn Tappen? Which first round matchup is most likely destined for an upset?
Listen below for the full interview: