NHL Playoffs 2014: Round 2 Preview – Pittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers
SERIES BEGINS: 2nd May
PUCK DROP: 19:00 ET (00:00 GMT)
BY THE NUMBERS
|WON LAST ROUND IN…||6 games||7 games|
|21 / 18
|19 / 16
|TOP POINT SCORER
(M. NISKANEN &
(M. ST LOUIS &
|TOP GOAL SCORER
(E. MALKIN, J. JOKINEN
& B. SUTTER)
|TOTAL 5v5 SV%||94.8%||95.8%|
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS ROUND 1 LOWDOWN
For the Penguins, the 2013/14 season was fairly routine despite the ridiculous injury list. They finished second in the Eastern Conference, second only to the Boston Bruins. Sidney Crosby led the way with another season leading the scoring table with secondary scoring coming from many of his team mates, and Marc Andre Fleury had a fair season in net, finishing with 39 wins and a .915 save percentage.
They arrived at this series by defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets in 6 games. The series was perhaps tougher than some had envisioned with Columbus putting pressure on the Penguins and giving them quite a number of scares along the way. In the end, though, Pittsburgh’s power was too much for them.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS PLAYER TO WATCH
Evgeni Malkin. Following his hat trick to win Round 1, I expect Malkin to keep his momentum going and have a big series. When Geno is on he’s on. Beast mode activated.
NEW YORK RANGERS ROUND 1 LOWDOWN
The Rangers began the 2013/14 campaign under the tutelage of a new head coach, Alain Vigneault. The first half of the season plodded along fairly averagely for them, but the second half saw a rise in points and position, with them ultimately finishing second in the Metropolitan Division.
Mats Zuccarello, despite his small stature, played a big role during the regular season for the Rangers, finishing top points producer with 59 points.
My nemesis in goalie pads, Henrik Lundqvist had a typically annoying steady season, completing the season with 33 wins and a .920 save percentage.
The Rangers got to Round 2 by edging out rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers in 7 games. It was a wee topsy-turvy series with each team winning a game, only to see the opposition win the following one. NYR made home advantage count in the deciding game 7 though, and put the series to bed with a 2-1 win.
NEW YORK RANGERS PLAYER TO WATCH
Rick Nash. Nash is a team favourite for the rags, and although he was fairly quiet by his standards in Round 1, look for him to turn that around in Round 2.
I expect a tense, close, physical series with the grind players perhaps playing a bigger role than the star names.
Anyone who knows me is aware of my actual detest for NYR but as a Pens fan do I wish we were facing the Flyers tonight? Well no I don’t.
When it’s all said and done, I predict Penguins in 7 games.
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