Last night the 2021 NHL Playoffs began with the other series in the East as the Caps beat the Bruins 3-2 in overtime. Today at noon, the other East Division series starts off in Pittsburgh as the #1 seed Penguins take on the New York Islanders.
The Penguins crushed the Islanders in the regular season, winning six of the eight games that these teams have played this year. A lot of those games were close though with only three of them decided by more than a goal (two Pens wins and one Isles win). Two of the Penguins wins took more than regulation to decide, one coming in overtime and another in a shootout.
The Penguins have been one of the two most successful franchises in hockey in the shootout era, winning three Stanley Cups in 2009, 2016 and 2017 and appearing in four Cup Finals in that time (they lost to Detroit in 2008). Led by Sidney Crosby, the best hockey player of this generation this team’s been incredible. Despite being a very good team the last few years, the Islanders haven’t seen a Cup Finals since they won an insane four straight cups from 1980-1984.
The Isles had success last year in the bubble, as they went to the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning in their first East Finals appearance since 1993.
The Islanders have played like shit coming into the playoffs, losing seven of their last ten games, many against teams that didn’t even sniff making the playoffs. I know that the playoffs are a whole new season, but thats not the form you want going into the playoffs. Pittsburgh finished their regular season pretty hot, going 9-2 in their last eleven games.
Statistically, the Penguins are better offensively averaging 3.45 goals per game on 30.1 shots per game. The Isles are averaging 2.71 on 29 shots. Defensively, New York has the slight edge here, allowing 2.23 goals per game vs. Pittsburgh’s 2.77. I’d give the Isles an edge in goaltending as well.
I think the Penguins win this series without much work. The Islanders are very good defensively and could turn it on in the playoffs but with the way they came in, I can’t see them beating Pittsburgh for a seven game series.
I have an existing +1300 future on the Isles to win the Cup, the Penguins are also +1300 and you can never rule out Sid and Geno. I’ll add the Pens to win the Cup for a unit. In addition to that I’ll take 2 units on the Pens to win the East and 4 units on the Penguins to win this series.
I’ll take the Penguins to win game 1 today for 2 units.
1u Stanley Cup Champions: Pittsburgh Penguins (+1300)
4u Penguins to win series (-140)
2u East Division Champions: Pittsburgh Penguins (+235)
2u Game 1: Penguins ML (-135)