Pittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers: 2022 First Round NHL Playoffs Series Preview

Via NHL.com

Pittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers: 2022 First Round NHL Playoffs Series Preview

Hockey

Pittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers: 2022 First Round NHL Playoffs Series Preview

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Via NHL.com

The Rundown:

The aging dynasty of the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the red hot New York Rangers for the first time since the 2015-2016 season. The Penguins ousted the Rangers 4-1 in the first round on their way to their four Stanley Cup.

A team looking to redeem themselves in the postseason, as they have not made it past the first round since the 2017-2018 Playoffs. The Penguins struggled to start the season with Captain Sidney Crosby and star center Evgeni Malkin missing a ton of games. But the roster held strong with Jake Guentzel having a career year scoring 84 points, and goaltender Tristan Jarry becoming a true starter, to keep the Penguins in contention for the Playoffs. The Penguins look to make a potential final run at the cup with their aging core of Crosby, Malkin, Jake Guentzel, and Kris Letang. 

Meanwhile the Rangers are looking to cement themselves as contenders after a long rebuild. The Rangers haven’t made the postseason since the 2016-2017 Playoffs. After drafting young talent like Alexis Lafreniere and Kappo Kakko, trading for Jacob Trouba and Adam Fox, and signing free agent Artemi Panarin; the Rangers turbo charged themselves out of a rebuild. 

The Matchup

The Rangers washed the Penguins in the season series going 3-1-0. They out scored the Penguins 11-4 in all four contests.

The Rangers do rely heavily on their special teams and their goaltending. They Rangers owned the number four ranked power play and a number seven ranked penalty kill. And in terms of their Goals Against and Goaltending stats, they owned a top three and top rank in each category respectively. Igor Shesterkin, which I wrote about in my article about him, has become a potential Vezina winning candidate for years to come. Outside of this the Rangers suffer severely in five vs five scoring, especially outside of their stars. The Penguins on the other hand, are one of the most well rounded teams in the NHL in all categories. 

Players To Watch

The Penguins and Crosby are synonymous when it comes to success in the postseason. Sidney Crosby is one of the best to ever do it, and always knows when to turn it up a notch in the postseason. Known for his leadership, elite skating edges, puck protection, and a nasty backhand, Crosby ensures us he knows how to get the job done. For his career Crosby has 69 goals and 122 assists, to combine for 191 points in 174 playoff games.

“The Bread Man”, Artemi Panarin, carved out a career season for himself scoring 96 in 75 games during the regular season. Panarin is a rare breed of NHL winger: a winger capable of driving play as a center traditionally would. Panarin has elite puck skills, strong skating abilities, a lethal shot, and above all, elite offensive acumen.

My Prediction: Penguins over the Rangers in five games.

-Hot Goaltending gets you far in the playoffs but if you can’t score outside of special teams, the Rangers are going to have a tough time against the well-rounded Penguins.

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