Here we go again, It’s the Pittsburgh Penguins facing off against the New York Rangers for the eight playoff game in a row for the Penguins. Since the Rangers won the Presidents’ Trophy and they beat the Penguins last year, the NHL should just hand the series to the Rangers… 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 the most diverse we ever had here at PenguinPoop.
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.
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.
I wish I could say I liked our Penguins’ chances in their upcoming opening-round series against the Rangers. Nothing would be sweeter than avenging last spring’s inglorious playoff loss to the Blueshirts—one that triggered sweeping changes both on and off the ice for the black and gold.
The naked truth is, aside from Sidney Crosby and a handful of others who stepped up at crunch time, the Pens aren’t playing very good hockey. Haven’t been for quite a while. They’re 5-9-3 since March 9, with four of those victories coming against bottom feeders Arizona, Edmonton and Buffalo.
Injuries have contributed to their poor showing. But the Pens have a myriad of other issues, too. They can’t protect a lead. The defense lacks size and gristle. Offensive production, once the team’s wellspring, has dried up (a paltry 34 goals in the past 18 games).
I really hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think the Pens will suddenly find the “on” switch against the Presidents’ Trophy winners. New York in five.
Horse – Season ticket holder since the 1970’s also a longtime PenguinPoop writer & radio host.
I do not have it in me to predict that the Penguins will lose a series. Thus I have been wrong many times since 2009. The Pens have many players that have played well in spurts over the course of the season. Very few of them have done it lately. If they can get some production from anyone other than the stars, it would go a long way in helping them win this series.
Without Letang it will be tougher. But Crosby, Malkin, and Fleury all have the talent to dominate a playoff round. Pens in 6
Joey Wales – PenguinPoop writer & long time Penguins fan – accidentally lived in D.C. for a while – he’s back.
Let’s get the clichés out of the way right now:
Anything can happen in the playoffs.
All you gotta do is get in, then it’s a brand new season.
Look at the Kings!
Rangers better watch out for that Presidents’ Trophy curse.
Okay, everyone feel better now? Good.
I’m actually a believer in at least one of these things, because anything really can happen in the playoffs. However, there’s possibility and probability, and the probability is that the Pens aren’t going to even sniff the finals without going on Stub Hub and searching for tickets.
This is a team with so much talent, but no real identity and no real consistency. If I hear another person talk about how the Pens manhandled the Ducks six weeks ago, I just might hit them with a plush Iceburgh a la Homey D. Clown.
Besides this teams own shortcomings, and, admittedly, a ferocious infestation of the injury bug, the Pens are also limping in and immediately facing the Rangers. Not only is this team very good, very in sync, and very hungry to get back to the finals, they’re a team that has had the Pens number all season long. The Rangers doubled up the goal count 16-8 over the course of going 75 percent in the season series. I’m not going to delve into it, but it can’t be overlooked that The Flower is prone to wilting in the Spring of late and hasn’t exactly been a brick wall against New York to begin with.
I want the Pens to win. Always. I hope the Pens will win the Cup. Always. I am a realist. Always.
There’s a definite possibility that the Pens will win the series. Unfortunately, when you take into account the numbers of it all spread out over a seven-game series, there’s a higher probability that they won’t, and I’ve come to terms with that.
But, there’s always hope and something magical about the playoffs and a single shift that can spark a legendary run, so I’ll end the way I started this, on a cliché:
If games were decided on paper they wouldn’t need to play them. Rangers in 6
Southside Shultzie – Long time PenguinPoop writer & Pens fan. Pittsburgher who was born in Cleveland but hey, so was Stan Savaran.
It’s really rather simple.
In order to compete and allow themselves chance to win 4 games the Pens need to be more GRITTY than PRETTY! It doesn’t sound like it makes sense but the NHL officials usually penalize retaliation infractions more often than the instigators.
The Pens need to hit everything on the ice! The Pens need to continue to crash the net. The Pens need to cash in on special teams. The Pen’s need ugly goals from unusual suspects. The Pens will need some lucky bounces. The Pens will need to get under the skin of the Rangers. The Pen’s Kunitz will need to break out of his funk in a dramatic fashion! And lastly, Mark Andre Fleury will need to become a 4 x 6 foot brick wall.
In shutting down the NYR Fleury can leave the Rangers shaking their heads and shaking our hands after the Pens steal the first 2 games then pound a frustrated and undisciplined Rangers squad into submission!
Did I mention the Pens need to be more GRITTY than PRETTY!
Pens sweep Rangers 4-0 outscoring the Rangers 12-4 in a low scoring and tightly fought series. The Rangers will actually show up for the morning skate for game 5 @ MSG only to be reminded that even though they won the President’s trophy, it would be the Penguins advancing to the next round of the playoffs! Later that afternoon the Rangers and their fans would all request a “Do Over” as they still can’t wrap their collective heads around losing to the lowly Penguins! Their request would be denied.
Doug MacRay – Penguins fan who started with Mario, PenguinPoop video guy.
When you look at the Penguins this season it is the tale of two teams, a dominant team that had one of the best records in the league and a team that could barely get a win against Buffalo. In the past month, their play has been undisciplined, erratic, and painful to watch most of the times. Just like everyone else, I watched and hoped for a wake up call to get them out of the funk they have been. Nope, not even close.
They’ve limped into the playoffs with injuries to half of their defense, and the ones who are healthy are old and tired. Malkin also isn’t 100%.
The supporting cast around Crosby and Malkin, who are supposed to take some of the pressure off of them, couldn’t score a goal if their lives depended on it.
When it comes to the state of the team, this is a horrible time for them to start the playoffs. We are accustomed to the Penguins getting healthier and resting players for a cup run. We usually say how the Pens have too much talent not to make it to the cup. And lately, we have watched the Pens lose to a lower seeded team repeatedly. Leaving us in a sense of disbelief and calling for us to “Fire Bylsma. He can’t coach in the playoffs.” This year we have none of that.
We are the lowest seeded team. We do not have the depth or talent that we’ve had in the past. We are definitely not healthy. And Bylsma is long gone.
That wake up call I mentioned earlier, maybe they got it. I hope so. We won’t know until the puck drops in Game 1. I have a feeling that we will see a different team than the one we’ve been watching lately. They have had a couple days to rest their defense and they finally can play with six defensemen. Plus they have Crosby, Malkin, and Fleury. Any one of those three can take over a game, but we will need all three of them to win the series.
The matchup versus the Rangers should be a good one to watch. We are the underdogs for once. They need to play with a reckless abandon and desperation. I want to see a team that shows up to the gun fight, not with a knife, but with a bazooka.
If the Pens can do this, they can seal one or both games in NYC, putting the pressure on the Rangers by their fans and media, the Pens could win this series in 6.
Phil Krundle – Head cheese here at PenguinPoop – Pens fan since 1976, blah blah hockey stuff blah blah…
There is good, there is bad and there is down right ugly. All of which can be used to describe the Penguins play this season.
I have all of my hopes hung on the fact that the olg guy upstairs has built a team based on players abilities in the playoffs, not in regular season. My opinion of Mike Johnston is, well… lets put it this way, my mom said if you don’t have anything nice to say. That opinion can easily be swayed by the Penguins performance in this series. Any one can prognosticate that he is gone in a heartbeat if the Penguins lose this series.
The Good: Thanks to some great trades (not the Despres one), the Penguins have one of the best well rounded playoff teams they’ve had in years. The Penguins finally have decent players to play along side Malkin & Crosby plus they have guys that will go to the net and fight for every inch of ice.
The Bad: The Penguins are very short on experienced defensemen. Take notice I did not say short on “skilled” defensemen. Letang will not be back. If Pouliot is out the entire series, the Pens won’t win.
The Ugly: The Penguins coaches have not given the Penguins defense any sort of breakout plan. They get stuck in their own end constantly because of said lack of plan and the offense is not on the same page as the defense. It would seem it’s because that page doesn’t exist. The team is also hopelessly out of shape. Perhaps Bylsma took the PX90 program with him when he left, but every third period they look stuck in the mud.
I seriously have no doubt the Penguins can win the series. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Pens will win it in 6. I really think they have the heart and desire to get past the lack of coaching.
Another prediction: Penguins offer up the Coach and GM position to Mike Babcock if the Pens lose this series.
If we end up playing the Islanders next round, I will probably be posting my first Pens won’t win a series prediction.
The “Metropolitan division” is still the stupidest name ever given to a hockey division.
but not and least:
Art Vandelay – Long time Penguins fan, season ticket guy & producer of the PenguinPoop Radio Show.
Rangers in 6.
Alrighty then, that pretty much sums it up. We may not all believe they are going to win, but we will all certainly be rooting for the Pens. One thing is for sure. You will definitely never hear one of us booing the Pens at the Consol.
Post your prediction in the comments!