The first round matchup between the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins will start tonight. We asked staff writers for their series predictions.
Round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is set to begin between the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The last time these two divisional rivals met in 2013 the series ended in six games.
We asked our staff writers to predict what they thought would happen between the two in the first round.
Brian Wagner – Seven Game Coin Flip
Toss Up in seven games. My heart and head say the Isles as they’ve simply had the better season and the goaltending is as good as the league has right now.
But in the playoffs, a team like the Pens becomes the real Pens after skating through the regular season.
This all depends on which Pens team shows up. If it’s the team we saw in the 2018-19 regular season I think the Isles handle business. If it is the vintage Pens teams that have had so much success in the Crosby/Malkin era, this feels like an early Isles exit.
Mike Stone – Isles In Six
The New York Islanders are going to win the only the third playoff series in my lifetime. (The first was 1992-93 when I was zero years old, so I wasn’t all that invested in the outcome). Although I’d much prefer to win on home ice, my prediction is that it will happen in Pittsburgh.
Games 1 and 2 are going to blow the roof off the Coliseum. We’ve seen how much of an impact our fanbase has at the “old” barn (e.g. the Snake Game). That energy will support victories in both of the first two games in Nassau. Pitt takes game 3 OR game 4, but not both. They’ll also take game 5 in the Coliseum.* And then we close out in Pittsburgh in game 6.
Matt Hawkins – Isles in Seven
My prediction for the first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins depends on what Islanders team we get. Considering the playoff and Coliseum atmosphere, I believe we should see the Jennings winning Islanders that allowed the least number of goals in the NHL this season.
Saying this, my prediction is a seven-game series that the New York Islanders will win. The Islanders may have trouble scoring goals, but they have the league’s best defense, and arguably best goalie tandem, to counteract what they lack offensively.
Overall, I believe the Islanders will be able to outlast the Pens’ high-powered offense and take advantage of their own scoring opportunities to create a very close, low-scoring series that they’ll ultimately win.
Frank Molinari – Isles In Seven
It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. The Islanders will face off against Pittsburgh in the 1st round of the playoffs. This is such a hard series to predict. Many see the Penguins winning based solely on their experience. I don’t see it that way. Home ice in this series I think will play a big role.
For me, I see the Islanders making noise in these playoffs. The Islanders have better defense and goaltending which is a massive advantage. But I also can’t see the Islanders winning the series in Pittsburgh. It will go the distance. In game seven at the Coliseum, the Islanders take it.
Michel Anderson – Isles In Five
It’s a gentleman’s sweep for me. The Pittsburgh Penguins have a clear advantage when it comes to the forward core. They’re strong up front and have strength in the blue paint with Matt Murray.
But that isn’t the case on the back end for the Penguins. That’s what happens when your defensive core has Jack Johnson and Erik Gudbransson in it. The Islanders, on the other hand, are solid from the goalposts out.
The Islanders have the defensive capabilities to deal with the Penguins. And have done so in the regular season, both at home and on the road. I have total faith that the Islanders can have success in round-one.