April 30, 2013 by The Hockey Daily.
With their star stacked roster who can blame critics for expecting a quick Pens win in their first round series against the New York Islanders? On paper the Pens should win the Cup this season. They have the most talented players in the world therefore they should beat whoever they play. Unfortunately that logic doesn’t work. By that logic the Penguins should have won the last three Stanley Cups. But they haven’t because the best players don’t always win and that is why the Stanley Cup playoffs are so exciting and entertaining.
The Islanders Are Underrated.
It’s true. The New York Islanders aren’t getting enough credit for the young, hard working team they are. They have good team speed that could cause the Penguins problems. The Isles are a good road team too. They went 14-6-4 away from home this season.
Sidney Crosby Is The Most Dangerous Offensive Player In The League.
If Sidney Crosby is in the lineup the Islanders will have to watch him like a hawk to have any chance in this series. Sid is the one player who can single handedly dismantle an opponent over and over again in a seven game series. And if there is another guy in the league that can do it, it’s probably his teammate Evgeni Malkin. That doesn’t mean they will though. The Islanders know. They’ve studied what the 2010 Canadiens, 2011 Lightning (no Crosby) and 2012 Flyers did to eliminate the Penguins in the playoffs. They can be beaten. Sidney Crosby has 90 points in 68 playoff games. Evgeni Malkin, a Conn Smythe winner, has 81 points in 68 playoff games.
What About Fleury?
You probably won’t find another Stanley Cup winning goalie who gets as little respect as Marc-Andre Fleury. Quite frankly, he’s been bad in recent playoffs for the Penguins which has tarnished his reputation. A good strategy for the Islanders would be test Fleury early and often. Make him prove he can still make the big saves the Penguins need him to make in order to become champions again. If the Islanders can effectively help blossom the seeds of doubt that may already exist within the team about Marc-Andre, they can put the Penguins in a very uncomfortable situation. Pittsburgh backup Tomas Vokoun has had a good NHL career but he’s hardly a playoff performer. Vokoun has played five NHL playoff games in his long career.
Jonathan Tavares Can Be A Hero.
It’s going to take a lot more than Jonathan Tavares for the Islanders to win this series but him playing amazingly would be a big help. JT is a great hockey player. He emerged this season as one of the best in the game and now he has a chance to prove just how great he is. If Tavares can lead his Isles to an upset here in the first round he will not only establish himself in a higher tier of star calibre he will also do wonders for his historic, yet struggling franchise. Both Tavares and his mates want to regain respect for the Islanders organization. Playing with that type of purpose makes them a tough team to beat.
Islanders in 7.
Sure why not. No one else is picking them. Just like one year ago, once again everyone is handing the Pens the Cup before the playoffs even begin. Things are different this year but I’ll believe it when the Pens prove it. Since winning in 2009 they have become nothing more than a great regular season team. Crosby will get another Cup but it won’t be this season.