New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins Playoff Preview
The Pittsburgh Penguins are right about average defensively. They allowed the 14th fewest goals this year with 241 for a +32 differential. Looking at their defensive core one name stands out and that’s Kris Letang.
Letang, now 31, has been their best defender for a long time. This season, he finished with 56 points, eclipsing the 50 point total for the fourth time in his career. He’s someone who has been in the Norris conversation a few times in his career and it’s easy to understand why.
Olli Maatta, the youngster, is paired with him rounding out a pretty solid top pair. Outside of that, the Penguins run out Jack Johnson, Justin Schultz, Marcus Pettersson, and Erik Gudbranson.
Maatta – Letang
Johnson – Schultz
Pettersson – Gudbranson
From worst to first, the New York Islanders allowed the most goals last year to only allowing 196 for the fewest goals in the league this year. Barry Trotz has done a phenomenal job with this unit all year long.
Ryan Pulock has emerged as the best Isles defenseman this season. He led the way with 37 points while averaging over 22 minutes of ice time for his team. He took a big leap defensively this year in his second full season.
While talking defense you can’t forget about old reliable, Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. The two vets have been running mates for a while now and while their numbers may have declined they are just as good defensively.
Leddy – Boychuk
Pelech – Pulock
Toews – Mayfield
The Edge: Islanders