The Penguins squeaked into the postseason after having a tremendous beginning to the regular season and faltering out toward the end. Almost no professional hockey analysts do not have them making it past the first round. Here is why they will make it past the first round and even into the Stanley Cup finals.
The Pens are the underdog of the league at this point. After the past few playoff years they found it hard to win. Now they do not have expectations to meet or any expectation at all. They do, however, have expectations for themselves. They know what kind of team they have and know that they can achieve, a Stanley Cup. It is a very possible goal, any team can win.
Despite injuries the Penguins know that they can beat any team in the league. Letang is just about done for the season with another concussion, while Ehrhoff is almost back to the ice after suffering an upper body injury. Once he comes back expect for him to make an impact and maintain the ice time for every other defenseman on the team.
The only problem that the Penguins have on the stat sheet is defense, playing on multiple occasions with five defensemen instead of six. Not something that you can do if you plan on making a long playoff run. It does not matter who you put into the bottom d-line but someone to suck up a little ice time so top liners are not getting exhausted half way through the game. Paul Martin, Ian Cole and Rob Scuderi lead the team in ice time in the final game against Buffalo all having over 25:30 minutes in ice time. Way more than they should have.
The offense has no problem at all. Game after game Crosby and Malkin are driving forces for team but unable to hit the score sheet. Other than that they continually out shoot the opposing teams and a goalie is bound to crack at some point. No better person to crack than Lundqvist. “The King” of choking when it matters. Losing last year’s Olympic gold medal game and Stanley Cup Final game seven.
It will be a great chance for the Penguins to redeem themselves and take back their throne atop the NHL. They are hungry and ready to return to the win column.
Game one will be on Thursday in New York.