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Pens Points: ECF Game 1

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The Pens host the Bolts to open the Eastern Conference final.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning one and all,

After two very unexpectedly one-sided game 7s in the West, the final four is set. The Sharks were all over the Preds from the opening faceoff. This is really what that game was like. As complete a 60-minute effort as you'll ever see. [SI]

We have perennial playoff also-rans in the Sharks and Blues squaring off for the Western Conference, and us and Stamkos-less Bolts here in the East. Not a very likely grouping. [Sporting News]

This was really sad news to wake up to. Former Pens great Kevin Stevens was charged in federal court Thursday with conspiring to sell oxycodone. He is being detained until a hearing on Tuesday. He's had a history of battling substance abuse and pain issues. [Boston Globe]

The Caps had their breakup day and exit interviews yesterday, when among other things everyone revealed the assorted injuries they guys were playing through. [Washington Post]

So Ovi and friends are joining team Russia for IIHF Worlds. "If he plays, it's because he thinks international hockey is more important than the NHL. If he doesn't, it's because he'd rather be on a beach or golf course than at the rink. Either way, he loses." It's time for this to stop. [Down Goes Brown]

Also, another good article on why we never have to compare Crosby and Ovechkin ever again. No, not because Crosby has won most of those matchups. Because it's an irrelevant comparison to begin with. [Vice Sports]

Back to the Pens and Bolts. The two teams each feature a signature blueliner, and for his part GM Jim Rutherford reiterated yesterday that he wouldn't swap Kris Letang for any other defenseman in the league. [Penguins]

It will be a fast-paced series for sure. With Hagelin, Kessel, Rust, Sheary, Daley, and Letang, can the Pens outrace the Lightning? [Penguins]

Mike Sullivan has deferred announcing the starting goalie decision until today. Marc-Andre Fleury says he's ready to play or cheer, whatever it is. [PPG]

For his part, Matt Murray doesn't lack in competitiveness and confidence, as well as self-belief. Ray Shero picked him more for his potential than performance at the time, so thanks Shero for that. [PPG]

How do the Pens and the Bolts match up position-by-position? I don't know about this. I'd probably give the edge in goal to Ben Bishop, for experience alone and he's been great. [Sportsnet]