The New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins will meet in the first round of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins are facing off in round one of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. The President’s Trophy recipients are taking on a team who just scraped into the postseason.
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The Rangers may have the advantage in most areas, but the Penguins are strong when it comes to puck possession.
The Rangers finished 53-22-7 with 113 points to win the Metropolitan Division and lead the league this season. This team is strong in every area of the game. They ranked third in goals per game, third in goals against, and sixth in penalty kill. They have some of the best goaltending, a fantastic defense, a lot of strong veteran leadership, and some fresh young talent.
The Pittsburgh Penguins finished 43-27-12 with 98 points. They’re entering the playoffs after a rough end to their regular season. They’re pretty average in terms of advanced stats but they shine when it comes to the penalty kill. They ranked third in the league with a 84.8 percent success rate. What will hurt the Penguins is the fact they’re missing a lot of they’re defense due to injuries. What will be interesting to see is how this team manages playing the roll of underdog.
PLAYERS TO LOOK FOR:
The Rangers have one of the league’s best players, Rick Nash. He finished with a career high 42 goals this season, third in the leauge. Strangely, he’s had rough postseason performances before. Goalie Henrick Lundqvist is still one of the NHL’s best goalies, but he also has a strong backup. Cam Talbot finished fourth in the league in save percentage with 2.21. Rookie Kevin Hayes really picked it up towards the end of the season. He scored 6 points in the last four games.
Another player that could be considered the best in the league, Sidney Crosby. He finished with 84 points in 77 games, ranked third in the league. Now that he’s finally healthy, the Rangers will have to try and manage his speed and puck handling skills. Evgeni Malkin has dealth with some injuries this season, but currently he’s healthy. He finished the season with 28 goals and put up 70 points in 69 games. Look out for Chris Kunitz. He doesn’t receive as much recognition next to Crosby and Malkin, but he plays a big roll on this offense. They still have strong goaltending with Marc-Andre Fleury. In fact, he had the most shutouts in the league this season.
The Rangers are thankful Rick Nash will be good to go after sitting out with the flu. Kevin Klein will sit with an arm injury. Marc Staal will play after sitting with an undisclosed injury. As for the Penguins, Christian Ehrhoff is out for game one with an upper body injury. Derrick Pouliot is will sit with an upper body injury. Kris Letang is most likely out the entire offseason because of a concussion.
The Penguins are just lacking too much defense to stand a chance against this power house Rangers team. I’m taking New York in 5.
GAME 1: April 16, New York vs. Pittsburgh 7:00ET/6:00CT NBCSN
GAME 2: April 18, New York vs. Pittsburgh 8:00ET/7:00CT NBC
GAME 3: April 20, New York @ Pittsburgh 7:00ET/6:00CT NBCSN
GAME 4: April 22, New York @ Pittsburgh 7:00ET/6:00CT NBCSN
IF GAME 5: April 24, TBA
IF GAME 6: April 26, TBA
IF GAME 7: April 28, TBA
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