It’s the Pittsburgh Penguins facing off against the New York Rangers for the first time as Metropolitan division foes. Since the last time the Rangers beat the Penguins in a playoff series was never, the NHL should just hand the series to the Penguins right?
We’ve put together an incredible group of writers to predict how the series will pan out and at the same time throw a little insight into what the Penguins have to do to win. This series predictions are all over the board from sweep to seven games. All of us have the Penguins winning, but some aren’t s sure.
Six of our writers have followed the Penguins since the 1970’s, two of them have been season ticket holders since then. The writers here at PenguinPoop have been to more Penguins games than any other group of writers on the internet.
Horse – Season ticket holder since the 1970’s also a longtime PenguinPoop writer & radio host.
The hard-fought series against Columbus was exactly what the Pens needed. They now know for sure the parts of their game that need work and should improve in those areas. Limit turnovers and penalties, forecheck with tenacity, and force the Rangers to make mistakes. I like the way Bylsma has paired the defensemen since Orpik’s injury. Martin and Letang are good for 25 minutes.. Niskanen and Maata are good for 20. Bortuzzo and Scuderi are good for 15. The only way this could be better would be a healthy Orpik to replace a worn-out Scuderi. I like putting Malkin and Crosby together on occasion, but not as a permanent fixture. With 87-71-16-46-57-27 all available as centers, the Pens can give the Rangers many different looks.
The Pens have always played well in the Garden and against Lundqvist and will continue to do so. The Penguins will win this series in six games by going two and one at each venue.
Southside Shultzie – Long time PenguinPoop writer & Pens fan. Born in Cleveland but hey, so was Stan Savaran.
Wow! Since my last round prognostication reads more like a well written post series wrap up, the pressure us certainly on!
Well, my concern about the guys not having the chemistry necessary to fire on all cylinders is beginning to be quelled. Malkin’s bear skin hat trick might just be the crack in the dam that has been holding back the usual suspects.
I look for Crosby (zero goals in the month of April) to catch fire. I’m also thinking his flame will light some other fuses, especially on special teams!
The Rangers PP has been dismal and ineffective after a respectable 3/8 posting in game 1 of the opening series. Look for the pens to play with a bit more of a chip on their shoulders due to the Rangers PP not being much if a threat.
Once again the Pens are going to have to be gritty and pretty! Look for them to rediscover passing off of the boards and the value of the stretch pass, especially at home where the bench position allows for guys to jump out on the blue line while the other guys behind them hit the bench for a line change.
Look for the Rangers to also bring some grit. They are fearless when it comes to blocking shots! They have thwarted more scoring chances than marriage! Perhaps the Pens can take advantage of this on the PP by being patient (I can’t believe I’m writing this) and goading guys out of position to create shooting/passing lanes.
Mark Andre Fleury should be fitted with a shock collar that goes off if he skates anywhere near playing a puck with his stick! Hook it up to a high power outlet! 220-221, whatever it takes!
I’m liking that the Pens discovered some things about their game in the last series (both good and bad)! I’m looking for them to rectify the kinks and come out shining like Scotty Hartnell’s new putter! While the Filthy Flyers are already out there yelling “fore!” I’m sitting here typing on my iPhone thinking FOUR! I know I was burnt like a Civic Arena footlong last time I called a sweep but this is the REAL DEAL! Break out the brooms and get ready to pound the Broons!
Rick Buker – PenguinPoop writer who has also written a couple of books – —Total Penguins & 100 Things Penguins Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die.
On paper the Penguins and their second-round opponent—the New York Rangers—are different as night and day. The black and gold boasted two 30+ goal scorers and three 20+ goal getters. Only two Rangers (Rick Nash and Brad Richards) reached the 20-goal plateau.
Indeed, the Pens rely heavily on superstars such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for offense, while New York embraces a scoring-by-committee approach. No fewer than 10 Rangers reached double-figures in goal production, compared to eight Penguins.
Ironically, the Metropolitan Division rivals play a similar up-tempo style based on speed and puck movement. The Rangers also rely heavily on their defense (fourth fewest goals allowed) and goalie Henrik Lundqvist. They’re perfectly at home in low-scoring games.
It remains to be seen whether the same can be said for our Penguins. Their instinct to push the offense and difficulty defending a lead could spell trouble against the Blueshirts, who reflect their ultra-patient coach, Alain Vigneault. And make no mistake. The Rangers (25-12-4 in the second half) are a worthy and dangerous foe.
My head says New York; my heart says the Pens. I’ll go with my heart—Penguins in seven.
Disco Stu – Followed the Penguins since 1971. Frequent PenguinPoop writer & radio host.
For the second round of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, the Penguins now face their long time nemesis, the New York Rangers although, surprisingly, this is only the fifth time the Pens will have faced the Rangers in the playoffs. The Penguins are 4-0 in the first four series having only ever lost a total of four games to the men in blue, and only once having lost more than one game in a series.
The Rangers are coming off a grueling seven game series against the Flyers that only finished up on Wednesday night, and with the way the NHL scheduled the start of this series with games one, two and three being on Friday, Sunday and Monday, it means by the end of game three, the Rangers will have played five games in seven nights. It’s rare to see that kind of schedule even during the regular season.
In order to capitalize on this schedule, the Penguins need to come out hitting early and often(Using Engelland as a winger might be a good idea in at least games 1 and 2) as well as deploy a dump and chase style of play. Even if they are not able to gain the puck after dumping it into the Rangers’ zone, it means the Rangers’ defensemen will have to continually go the length of the ice with the puck. At some point, this cramped schedule will begin to take its toll on the boys in blue, and that is when the Penguins will need to jump on them.
The teams spilt their regular season series, and the stats are fairly even. I think the Rangers definitely have a bit of an advantage in goal, but that is easily matched by the Penguins depth of offensive scoring. The Rangers are catching the Penguins at the wrong time though what with Malkin having awoken from his late Winter hibernation and the knowledge that Crosby has some amazing stats again King Henrietta.
I see the grueling schedule taking its toll on the Rangers’ older players like Richards and St. Louis, and if the Penguins can continue to play defense like they did in the last three games against Columbus (Except do it for a full 60 minutes), I don’t see this series going beyond five games.
Pens in 5
Doug MacRay – Penguins fan who started with Mario, PenguinPoop video guy.
The Penguins have never lost a series to the Rangers in the playoffs, and I’d
like to believe that the streak will continue. Right now it seems like the only
team that could beat the Penguins are the Penguins. In order to win this series,
the Penguins will need to play smarter and harder than they did versus Columbus.
They can’t take periods off or even shifts and they need to stay out of the
The Rangers will show up to Game 1 tired and sore from a 7 game
series versus the other Pennsylvania team. Nash, like Crosby, Hasn’t scored a
goal yet in the playoffs this year. Even though the stars for both teams will
play a large role in this series, I think goalies and defense will be the
difference. Look for King Henry to steal at least one game for the Rangers, and
the Penguins to beat themselves for another game, maybe even game 1. I think
the Pens will win in 6.
Phil Krundle – Head cheese at PenguinPoop – Pens fan since 1976, blah blah hockey stuff blah blah…
The Penguins need to win this series fast. The hockey scheduling gods seemed to have given the Penguins a gift. I hope I’m wrong, but from watching countless playoff runs I have noticed the well rested team usually plays worse the first game. They usually look rusty. The Sunday/Monday double header should play havoc with some of the older Rangers.
The Penguins need to do a few simple things to keep the upper hand. Mixing up the players on the first two lines, even mixing in players from the other lines proved to work great in the Columbus series as it did a few years ago when the Pens won the Cup. The Rangers have two great defensive pairings that can eat up a huge amount of game time. Changing the lines every chance he gets Bylsma can throw off any plan to shadow Malkin or Crosby.
Bylsma needs to stop the prevent defense. Fleury is a good goaltender, but not good enough to play prevent in front of. There are not many of those in the NHL. If Bylsma didn’t learn his lesson over and over in the Columbus series, this series will be over fast.
If the Pens follow the simple stuff above and come out of the gate fast they should be able to make quick work of the Rangers. If the Pens don’t win at least 2 of the first 3 games then look out. Since I don’t wish to think about that scenario, I’m predicting the Pens in 5.
Out on a limb here, but I’m also predicting that the name “Metropolitan division” is quite possibly the stupidest name ever given to a hockey division.