Conference final preview
Route: Beat the Senators in four, Rangers in five.
How they did it: Being oppressive. The skilled Penguins won their first seven playoff games until the Rangers strung out their series.
Why they'll reach the final: Evgeni Malkin had four goals and three assists against the Rangers. Marian Hossa had four goals and one assist, and Sidney Crosby had six assists.
Why they won't: Skaters don't skate so fast pressed against the boards. The Flyers, who stifled Washington's Alex Ovechkin for most of the opening round, will be a grabby bunch of ruffians.
Route: Beat the Capitals in seven, Canadiens in five.
How they did it: Continuing to play with urgency — after a hiccup against the Capitals — after winning several meaningful games just to reach the playoffs as the No. 6 seed.
Why they'll reach the final: Mind-set goes a long way at this time of year, and the Flyers are self-believers entering the Battle of Pennsylvania. And former Lightning standout Vinny Prospal will step up.
Why they won't: Mind-set matters little when Crosby and Malkin hit open ice with the puck.
Brant James, Times staff writer