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Stanley Cup Playoffs

New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins Playoff Preview

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10: Casey Cizikas #53 of the New York Islanders skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins at NYCB Live at the Nassau Coliseum on December 10, 2018 in Uniondale, New York. The Penguins defeated the Islanders 2-1 in the shootout. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10: Casey Cizikas #53 of the New York Islanders skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins at NYCB Live at the Nassau Coliseum on December 10, 2018 in Uniondale, New York. The Penguins defeated the Islanders 2-1 in the shootout. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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GLENDALE, ARIZONA – JANUARY 18: Evgeni Malkin #71 and Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins talk during the third period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 18, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Penguins defeated the Coyotes 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Forwards

Penguins

When looking at the Pittsburgh Penguins, their forward group strikes fear into the heart of any team. Led by Sidney Crosby, this Penguins forward group is no joke. The aforementioned Crosby finished the year with 100 points for the sixth time in his career.

His running mate, Evgeni Malkin finished with 71 points in just 68 games this year. Malkin is also a playoff beast with 165 career points in 158 playoff games over the span of 11 seasons.

Besides that one-two punch, you have quality depth in Phil Kessel, Jake Guentzel, Patric Hornqvist, and Nick Bjugstad. The Penguins top three lines are as good as any teams and it will be a tall task for the Islanders.

Projected lines:

McCann – Crosby – Guentzel

Rust – Malkin – Kessel

Simon – Bjugstad – Hornqvist

Blueger – Cullen – Wilson

Islanders

The Islanders offense is certainly not the team’s strength. Their leading scorer was Mathew Barzal with 62 points. Comparatively, the Penguins had four forwards with more points than what Barzal finished with.

Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Josh Bailey all finished with over 50 points. Beyond that, it was a struggle for some familiar faces. Jordan Eberle finished the year with just 37 points and Anthony Beauvillier only had 28 on the season.

While both heated up down the stretch over the full 82 game season they weren’t consistent enough. When mentioning the Islanders forward group you can’t forget about the fourth line of this team.

The reunion of Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck went amazing. Led by Casey Cizikas’ 20 goal season, this unit was as good as advertised and the Islanders most consistent line.

Projected lines: 

Lee – Barzal – Eberle

Bailey – Nelson – Dal Colle

Beauvillier – Filppula – Komarov

Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

The Edge: Penguins

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