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The Stanley Cup playoffs are right around the corner and theBRKDWN sports are analyzing and previewing each first-round matchup. In this article I will be dissecting and predicting a team to advance to the second round of the playoffs, so let’s begin.
Game 1: Wed., April 10, Pittsburgh @ NY Islanders, 7:30 p.m. ET
Game 2: Fri., April 12, Pittsburgh @ NY Islanders, 7:30 p.m. ET
Game 3: Sun., April 14, NY Islanders @ Pittsburgh, Noon ET
Game 4: Tues., April 16, NY Islanders @ Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. ET
Game 5* Thurs., April 18, Pittsburgh @ NY Islanders, TBD, TBD
Game 6* Sat., April 20, NY Islanders @ Pittsburgh, TBD TBD
Game 7* Mon., April 22, Pittsburgh @ NY Islanders, TBD, TBD
The Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders will be battling in the playoffs for the fourth time ever. The Islanders have home ice advantage in this series as they finished with 103 points in the second divisional spot while the Penguins finished with 100 points in the third divisional spot. No one expected the Islanders to be in the position they are in at the start of the season. It’s very impressive of Head Coach Barry Trotz to take the worst defensive team from a year ago and make them the best defensive team heading into the playoffs. On the other side, its equally as impressive that Head Coach Mike Sullivan helped coach and maintain a great power play percentage with some key players missing multiple games with injuries. This sets up for a great metropolitan matchup with all the stars being healthy and ready to go for game one.
What it takes to Win
These teams split their regular season series 2-2.
Oct 30: NYI @ PIT… NYI 6-3
Nov 1: PIT @ NYI… NYI 3-2 in SO
Dec: 6: NYI @ PIT… PIT 6-2
Dec 10: PIT @ NYI… PIT 2-1 in SO
The New York Islanders will need to stick to their great defensive game and shut down the stars of the Penguins in order to have a better chance at advancing on to round two. They have been doing it all year and their shutdown pairing, Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech, will need to play ten times better in their own zone to keep the offensive pressure from the Penguins forwards away.
Now, in order for the Pittsburgh Penguins to advance on to round two they will need to expose the Islanders average penalty kill and shut down the Islanders mediocre power-play. With guys like Crosby, Malkin, Letang, Kessel, and Guentzel on the ice together for the man advantage, it’s mind boggling to think that they don’t score a goal. This group of players will need to score on the power-play constantly in order to get the edge in the series over their opponents.
The one looming thing that fans and hockey analysts give to the Penguins beating the Islanders is one word – experience. The Penguins have walked the walk and talked the talk many times prior to this round one match up. The Islanders are a younger and newer team to this playoff atmosphere and the Penguins most certainly have more experience in these parts than the Islanders do.
It’s going to be a tough and tight series but I will be taking the Pittsburgh Penguins in five or six games in round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs over the New York Islanders.