Sometimes the best way to get to know your playoff opponent is to get to know the people that know them the best.


Zoë and Kim are are part of the hilarious team that run Puck Huffers a blog about the Pens. If you've read their blog before you know they thank Curry, have a thing for blingee photos and have some epic drunk live blogs. I've enlisted the help of Zoë from Puck Huffers to answer a few questions heading into the series.

First off, we start with some obligatory questions about the Pens' strength/weaknesses and then we'll get into some of the more fun questions.

What are the strengths of the Pens in the series?

Absolutely their work ethic and forecheck.  I also believe they have a distinct leg up in goaltending.

Weakness of the Pens in the series?

Special teams special teams special teams.  These are more in general than just against the Lightning.  We need to stay solid defensively.  This is very important.  The Pens have had a habit of letting a 5-second defensive lapse cost them the game.

Has Bylsma figured out how to manage the Lightning's 1-3-1 style?

The games recently have certainly been more open, so I'd say he's got a bit of a handle on it.  The key is to keep going after the puck--the Pens have at times wanted to be way too cute with the puck in a close-checking game.  They've been breaking these habits during their current hardships to a degree, and they can continue to do it!

How do you think Boucher's 1-3-1 style will work in the playoffs?

Yes.  I think it will be very frustrating to play against.

Do you think Crosby will make an appearance during this round of the playoffs?


How many 'will he or won't he play' stories about Crosby can I read before I'm sick of them?

Just stop paying attention to the hockey media.  It becomes even less relevant in the playoffs!  At least, most of it does.

Use three words to describe Steve Downie

complete fucking psychopath?

Ryan Malone left Pittsburgh (his hometown team) for the money and because of his decision didn't win a cup in 2009. How do Pittsburgh fans feel about him? Will he play that much harder because its against
the Pens?

Pens fans always will miss Malone.  But they're also pissed a little because he had a bright future in Pittsburgh and would have been utterly beloved.  He knows what he did, more or less.  His career stats against Pittsburgh are pretty lackluster--I'm sure he's aware of that, too, and will want to change that.

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The Puck Huffers just ended their fantasy hair league. Who on the Pens has had the best hear all season?

Brent Johnson had the most points due to often sitting on the Pens bench without a hat or helmet, and being seen there during play.  I personally had quite the soft spot for Zbynek Michalek's hair this season.

Letang has struggled during the second half of the season, how much of a problem is his struggles going into the playoffs?

If KTang doesn't get his shit together it will eventually cost the Pens.  We need a defensemen who can get a shot on net on the power play, for one.  His hiccups at both ends of the ice seem to be wearing on his confidence a bit.  I'm sure Bylsma has talked to him about this--I look forward to seeing him step it up!

Predict the series: 4-2 Pens