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2011 NHL Playoff Predictions: Experts Split On Penguins Vs. Lightning

SB Nation has four writers making NHL playoff predictions for the Eastern Conference, and the ones for the Penguins vs. Lightning series are all over the place, with two writers picking the Lightning to win a close series and two picking the Penguins to dominate. Zachary Zielonka notes the Pens' solid record since losing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin:

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have been rolling even without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Lightning are just a speed bump in the way at the moment.

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The Lightning beat the Pens less than two weeks ago, so predicting the Pens win it in four, as Zielonka does here, might be a bit much. Still, I like his optimism.

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In the other three playoff series, the SB Nation writers overwhelmingly choose the higher-seeded teams (the Capitals, Flyers and Bruins) as the favorites. At this point, the Penguins vs. Lightning matchup looks like the toughest one to call.

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Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.