I think you guys can hang with the pens. The islanders have a real dislike of the pens which goes back 2 seasons to that Dipietro fight. I think that hate will go a long way in fueling their fire. Secondly, the Isles have 2 legit scoring lines that could torment a questionable MAF.
Boston, hands down. They don't have the talent the Pens have and the B's have been struggling. I've seen in a few places that Isles fans want the Pens because it wouldn't be as physical a series as Isles-Boston would be. Maybe in the past, but Douglas Murray, Matt Cooke, Brooks Orpik, et all may have something to say about that. I want Boston.
They will beat us into the ground and make us work for a victory....BUT! I'd rather go up against their top-6 instead of Pittsburgh. We can only shut-down Crosby / Malkin for so long, and that's not even considering the task of facing Neal / Kunitz / Iginla and the classic Islander killers in Dupuis and Kennedy.
I also have a feeling that if they can get a series win against Boston then it will give the team more oomph moving forward. I dont know why.
Pittsburgh because Fleury can be shaky at times. Also, the coaching staff could use an us against them mentality by bringing up Lemieux's remarks from a couple of years ago and how the entire hockey world thinks that they're unbeatable.
If Crosby is not playing it is a toss up because you know the league would love to see Pittsburgh advance if Crosby is going to play at all so the officiating will be lopsided but Boston gives us fits physically and Rask is the most consistent goalie between the two teams
Boston. Yes, they can be physical, and yes, when they play to their size they're nearly unbeatable. But they're far less consistent than Pittsburgh, are much more undisciplined, and can be their own worst enemies at times. Plenty of non-physical teams have taken the Bruins to seven games recently...Vancouver in the Cup finals two seasons ago, Tampa Bay in the conference finals that same year, Washington last year beat them in seven. They're not always the team that roared back against Vancouver or the team that knuckles under for blood baths against Montreal. In fact, if they're not given a reason to unleash hell, they can appear downright disinterested in some games, even in the playoffs.
Pitt meanwhile has had nothing to play for for a while now this season and is still hurting teams. They have a scary efficiency about them and are the same elite team regardless of the circumstances, who is out of their lineup, etc.
Boston. They haven't looked unstoppable recently, they've lost some games down the stretch to lesser teams (Carolina, Philly, and Buffalo) and if the Isles can play the way they did on the 11th against them, then yes, the Isles can hang close and pull out some victories. It'll be a tough series, but that's the playoffs, and that's what these guys live for. Plus a couple guys have Boston roots and that'll be even that more incentive to play hard.
The Isles can hang with Pitt too but with the added emotion of a returning Crosby those first two games in Pitt will be damn near impossible to win.
And for selfish reasons, Boston is the only Eastern team I've never seen play live at the Coliseum......
Definitely Boston. Originally I was most scared of them, but they really haven't looked all that sharp this year. Pittsburgh gives me more than one reason why I don't want to play them, which is Vokoun (Isles killer), Crosby, Malkin, Iginla, Neal exc. exc. They would tear us apart. I actually feel like we have a chance against Boston even if it will be a tough one.