The New York Islanders will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Here’s why you should be optimistic about their chances.
The New York Islanders will open the playoffs with a series against the Pittsburgh Penguins at some point over the next week or so. In anticipation of the opening round series, let’s look at a few reasons to be optimistic for the Islanders chances.
For the pessimists out there I’ll have you covered in another post later today.
So, here are three reasons to be optimistic about the Islanders chances against a team they’ve gone 2-4-2 over the regular season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins don’t have the same quality between the pipes as the Islanders. The duo of Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry have been good enough, but certainly not great.
Their regular-season numbers:
DeSmtih: 2.54GAA and a 0.912SV%
Jarry: 2.75GAA and a 0.909SV%
Pittsburgh isn’t at the top of the East because of their goalkeeping. Their powerful offense does much of the lifting. Their elite top six (lead by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin) are what fuels the Penguins to victory. Goaltending is not the Penguin’s strength.
But look at any playoff series and goaltending plays a big factor. The team with the better netminders typically comes out on top. In this case, the Islanders are the team with a decisive advantage with Semyon Varlamov (who should win the Vezina this year) and Ilya Sorokin backing him up.
Here are their numbers over the regular season:
Varlamov: 2.04GAA and 0.929SV%
Sorokin: 2.17GAA and 0.918SV%
Again, advantage Islanders.