Pulling players from the line-up sends a terrible message; it's an invitation to goon it up against us. Far more is achieved by meeting the threat head on and demonstrating that this isn't a team to take liberties with.
I very much doubt this is going to turn into a furball in any case. Melnyk might be one of those people you see on traffic islands screaming about how the reptiloids are stealing our biscuits, but Paul MacLean isn't going to waste a crucial game on schoolyard nonsense. Two of their three remaining games after us are on the road against Boston and Washington. 7th spot is worth so much more than 8th this year and the Rangers last three games are pretty soft.
TheHammer24 wrote:The chance of winning the Stanley Cup, then, can be found by multiplying the chance you have of beating each team. Even the best 1-8 game is something like 90% vs 10%. Imagine we have a 90% chance of beating Ottawa and an 80% chance of beating NYR. In both situations we are "heavy favorites." Assume further we have a 70% chance of beating the second round team, 60% of beating the third round, and a 50% chance of winning the cup matchup.
Playing Ottawa under this scenario gives us a 19% chance of winning the Stanley Cup. Playing NYR gives us a 17% chance. Although we're still a favorite if we play our game against both, playing the poorer team creates a measurable difference.
If anyone is interested in the objective pseudomathematical opinion of someone with a reasonably sound prediction model and a gambling problem, then as it stands today the Penguins will beat the Senators in a 7 game series around 78% of the time, and beat the Rangers around 72% of the time. The overall chances of the Penguins winning the cup is pretty close to 20%, but it's not a nice straightforward 80%/70%/60%/50%. There is as big a gap in playing strength between the Penguins and the second best team as there is between that team and the 9th best team, this creates a much flatter landscape than Hammer describes.
But's that's today and things will invariably look very different in a few weeks time. The gulf between the Penguins and everyone else is as much a feature of Montreal and Boston slumping as it is us being awesome. The distribution was much more even a couple of weeks ago.