NHL 2013 PLAYOFFS: ROUND 1 – PITTSBURGH vs NY ISLANDERS
SERIES BEGINS: WEDNESDAY 1ST MAY 2013
PUCK DROP: 7:30PM ET (12:30AM GMT)
HOW WILL IT GO DOWN? The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking incredible this year, despite missing several of their star players at numerous points during the year. With superstars like Crosby, Malkin and Letang in the lineup this is one hell of a tricky team to beat, and even with Crosby still questionable this is an unbelievably talented team from top to bottom. Goal scorers, defensively strong players, two-way defenceman, they’ve got it all. Except, that is, a reliable goaltender. Fleury constantly flashes brilliance, but is inconsistent and especially in the playoffs has not been much better than average, whilst backup Tomas Vokoun is experienced but getting on in years.
That’s the weakness the upstart Islanders will have to exploit. Pound the Penguin’s net with shot after shot. The Islanders might be the 8th seed in the East but they are a very good team. Led by elite center John Tavares, the team has a great mix of young and veteran players, two-way forwards and scorers, a bunch of waiver-wire pick ups and high draft picks. This is a remarkably well built team, and the “infinibuild” might be over on Long Island.
PREDICTION: This won’t be as easy as some Penguins fans believe. The previous bad blood between the two teams combined with the Penguins’ desire for another Cup and the Islanders’ self-belief will make this a top series to watch. Ultimately the jaw-dropping talent in Pittsburgh will overcome the Islanders, but it will take 6 games in my opinion.