2015 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions: Round 1

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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers

Probably one of the more shocking match-ups in the first round is the bout between the Pittsburgh Penguins (WC-2) and the New York Rangers (M-1).

It’s not surprising that these two teams are matching up, it’s surprising that they are matching up so early in the postseason. This is due in large part to the major injury issues that the Penguins have been dealing with. This includes the likes of Olli Maatta, Pascal Dupuis, Kris Letang, and Christian Ehrhoff just to name a few. They have also been dealing with injuries from Evgeni Malkin who doesn’t seem to be 100%. It seems as if almost every major player on the Penguins has dealt with some type of injury over the course of the season.

The Rangers on the other hand have had a fantastic season, winning the President’s trophy. They have done so with Henrik Lundqvist on the shelf, which saw Cam Talbot play 36 games. Talbot was stellar for the team, and allowed Lundqvist to ease into his return instead of rushing things. The good news for Rangers fans is Henrik is back. The bad news is that Talbot has been playing so well for the blue shirts that it’s going to be hard to sit him. More importantly, this is an issue for Alain Vigneault, who is no stranger to goalie controversies. I would be shocked if Lundqvist isn’t the starter given his pedigree, although you have to feel for Talbot.

Due to the injury issues in Pittsburgh, I expect the Rangers to make quick work of the Penguins. I believe the Penguins will win a game out of sheer pride, but this is essentially the Rangers series to lose. It doesn’t matter who’s in net for the Rangers. Rangers in five.