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Blackhawks’ Hjalmarsson Expected Penguins, Not Bruins In Stanley Cup Final

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins’ making the Stanley Cup Final was not the most shocking news in the world. After all, the team is largely intact from two years ago, when the Bruins beat the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years.

Still, given how dominant the Penguins looked all year, it’s safe to say that many or even most fans and analysts expected to see Sidney Crosby and Co. win the Eastern Conference and play in the Stanley Cup Final.

As it turns out, Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson felt the same way.

Hjalmarsson sat down with the NHL Network during the Blackhawks’ media day availability on Tuesday. He said that when he watched Eastern Conference games this season, he did so mostly to scout the Penguins, assuming they’d be the ones to make it to the Final.

“I watched a couple of games on the TV,” Hjalmarsson said. “To be honest with you, I think I’ve been keeping one eye on Pittsburgh the whole way, pretty much.”

Quick to shift the attention away from any potential bulletin board material, Hjalmarsson praised the way the Bruins played while sweeping the heavily favored Penguins.

“The way they played against Pittsburgh was obviously really impressive, especially how they shut down their top guys and the way Tuukka [Rask] played in the net for them,” Hjalmarsson said. “It’s going to be a good challenge to try to score on them and try to keep their top players off the scoring sheet.”