I think the Isles give the Pens more trouble than alot of you are expecting. They had a fantastic April and are playing the best hockey the team has played in the last 5 years. Tavares/Moulson/Boyes is a great first line and wicked on the PP. Visnovsky and Nabby have playoff experience. They can easily, and likely will, employ the strategy of "packing it in around the house" as many teams do when severely over matched on skill, and it has been effective before against the Pens (MTL/TB). I think its very key for the Pens to score first in every game so that the Islanders can't sit back and insulate the goalie while waiting for that one or two chances to score and hold on for dear life. The Islanders seem to give the Pens more trouble than they should sometimes...
On the flip side.. the Isles suck 5 on 5 (even though the Corsi stat says they get more pucks towards the net than our Pens at even strength), their bottom 6 is mostly people I have never heard of, and they have that idiot Matt Martin who is going to take penalties that (should if we keep our wits) give the Pens some PP opportunities of their own. The article from Jesse had some semi 'eye opening' stats on how these teams stack up on paper. Some is closer than I expected. It just seems like the Isles don't pass the 'eye test' overall.
All in all, I think the key for the Pens is to stay out of the box. Pens are very strong 5v5 in goal differential and historically those are the teams that (no surprise) do well in the playoffs. They need to pound Streit and Visnovsky immediately to slow down the speed and transition game of the Isles. They remind me of the 07 Pens. A superstar, some budding surrounding talent (albeit not world class like the Pens), and a team that is happy to be relevant again, but NOT a team that is ready for what is about to come.
I think the Pens system of strong board play should bode well in this series against a lackluster defensive corps. I hope that the team gels and can rally around the Iggy/Morrow quest for the cup like that team did in the NFL for that player coughcough.
Pens in 6
Last edited by Fire0nice228
on Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.