As I said in my optimism piece earlier today, the Penguins are an offensive powerhouse. Over the full 56 game season, they are first in the NHL for goals-for and goals-for-per-game with 193 and 3.45 respectively.
And already that offensive powerhouse only got better at the trade deadline when they acquired Jeff Carter from the Los Angeles Kings. Since that trade, the Penguins powerful offense continued to roll, ranking first in the NHL in terms of goals-for with 66. They averaged 3.88 per game.
Just look at the productivity from the Pengs top six players compared to the Islanders
The Penguins have four players above 40 points, the Islanders have one. The Penguins have three 20+ goal scorers, the Islanders have none.
And look, Evgeni Malkin isn’t even listed in that table. And he had a good year. He’d certainly make the list if his year wasn’t cut short due to injury. But in the playoffs, Malkin is an absolute beast. In 166 games he has 63 goals and 169 points.
The Islanders just don’t have the same quality up top. So to counter that they have to play a perfect defensive game to eliminate any mistake. When that doesn’t work the Penguins have enough skill to punish the Islanders for whatever mistake they make. Whether it’s a bad change, a poor clearing attempt, or just being second to the puck in the d-zone.
That’s why fans might be pessimistic about the Islanders chances to come out with a series win. Of course, it’s not impossible that the Isles still take the series, but with a poor record going into the playoffs, a poor head-to-head record vs. the Pens, and having to play a perfect game night-in and night-out, it makes it tough to pull a series win.