As we approach the start of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, Too Many Men On The Site will be taking a look at each of the teams that have qualified. Included will be stats, record, and why they will and will not win the Stanley Cup. First up is the Metropolitan Division winning Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pittsburgh Penguins – 1st Metropolitan Division – 105 points (As of this posting)
Sidney Crosby 36G 66A 102 Points
Evgeni Malkin 23G 49A 72 Points
Chris Kunitz 35G 32A 67 Points
Why The Penguins Will Win The Stanley Cup:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have led the Metropolitan Division since the first month of the 2013-14 season. They dominated divisional play; they posted a winning record against 5 of the 7 Metropolitan Division teams. Only the Flyers won their series, and the Devils split their four game series 2-2. The Penguins swept the Columbus Blue Jackets in 5 games, and the Washington Capitals in 4 games. Therefore, Pittsburgh enters the divisional round of the playoffs as heavy favorites (barring a match up with the Philadelphia Flyers).
With a one-two punch of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins have one of the most dangerous offenses in the East. The path to the Cup will likely run through Boston, where Pittsburgh may very well meet their match. During the 2013-14 season, the two teams played three times; the series ended 1-1-1 for the Penguins.
When looking at potential Western Conference opponents for a Cup Final, Pittsburgh has a winning record against the Anaheim Ducks. They tied their series with everyone else, with the exception of Phoenix and St. Louis, who both swept Pittsburgh in two games.
There is also some speculation that if the Penguins under perform during the playoffs this season, it could be the end of the road for head coach Dan Bylsma. While motivation to win has to be generated by the players themselves, playing for the job of a popular coach could give the Penguins a bit of a competitive edge.
Why The Penguins Will Not Win The Stanley Cup:
Inconsistent goaltending will once again be Pittsburgh’s shortcoming. Marc-Andre Fleury currently has a .917 SV% and a 2.34 GAA, which is right in line with previous seasons. However, recall that things really fell apart for Fleury during last years post season, and Tomas Vokoun was a much needed insurance policy. Fleury has posted a sub-.900 save percentage in four consecutive playoff runs. Backup goaltender Jeff Zatkoff has not done much better in the AHL playoffs, posting a .865 SV% in the Calder Cup playoffs. [ Bleacher Report ]