I would be if they were facing Pittsburgh just because Pitt is playing without three of their best players at the amount and winning a series. You take 3 of the best players off any other team in the playoffs and chances are they are facing an early exit. If Pittsburgh gets by Tampa and get Malkin, Crosby and Cooke back then I think it would be safe to assume they are the favorite for the Cup.
Pittsburgh has deep talent, but they are winning without their top players. Add them in after a layoff and that chemistry, and their lines, change. It doesn't guarantee a big jump in their abilities. It just means they have to adapt again.
And I'd still favor the Western Conference team in the finals.
I didn't think Malkin would even be able to come back for the playoffs. I've heard that Crosby might be coming back for the second round but still no garuntees.
Absolutely no way Malkin comes back for the playoffs, even if Pitt gets to the finals....a complete tear of his MCL AND ACL...he's off skates until Sept.
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