With the playoffs on the horizon, I wanted to put together previews of each series, but more specifically, I wanted to put together the type of previews I’d want to read. Bite-sized, few stats, some opinion, and maybe a look back at a key moment between the teams. This is my attempt at providing that.
1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 8) New York Islanders
Head-to-Head in 2013: 4-1 Penguins
A stat: Isles out-shot the Penguins 152 – 144 overall (Penguins out-scored Isles 17-9)
Goal differentials: Pittsburgh: +46, Islanders: even
Shots-per-game: Pittsburgh: 30 (11th), Islanders: 30.9 (7th)
Shots-against-per-game: Pittsburgh: 29.2 (16th), Islanders: 28.2 (10th)
NYI: Evgeni Nabokov, .910 save percentage, 2.50 goals-against-average
PIT: Marc-Andre Fleury, .916 save percentage, 2.39 goals-against-average
Tomas Vokoun, .919 save percentage, 2.45 goals-against-average
NYI: John Tavares, 47 points in 48 games
PIT: Sidney Crosby, 56 points in 36 games
Reason to watch: Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Penguins been practicing with a powerplay unit of Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Iginla and Letang.
Moment from the season: Sidney Crosby took a Brooks Orpik slapper in the jaw against the Isles. Jarome Iginla made his debut against them too.
Lately: Penguins finished the season 8-2-0, Islanders 6-1-3
News: James Neal came back from a concussion last game (scored a hat trick), Crosby is awaiting medical clearance to play in games. He’s back practicing.
First game: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EST
Flippant barstool opinion: The Penguins are more or less unstoppable, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Islanders took an early game and made the Pens sweat a bit.
I think we’re going to see a lot of goals in this series. That Pittsburgh offense against Evgeni Nabokov (hot down the stretch, below average starter overall), and the Isles shooting on Marc-Andre Fleury should be enough reason to take the over.
Prediction: Pens in five
Your NHL.com preview: