Rangers vs Penguins, game one of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs starts tonight at 7 PM Eastern Standard Time. The Penguins vs Rangers series will determine the winner of the Atlantic Division, who will then play the winner of the Metropolitan Division’s Montreal vs Boston series (Montreal currently leads the series 1-0).
Both teams struggled at times in the opening round. Neither team had the level of offense they’re accustomed to and both starting goalies were streaky. Like most NHL playoff series, the Penguins vs Rangers series could very well come down to which goaltender hits his stride and gets hot – the Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury or the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist.
Both teams will be looking for their potent offenses to pick up. The Penguins have yet to see a playoff goal from presumptive NHL MVP Sidney Crosby this year. Pittsburgh needs to see more from Sid the Kid, Evgeni Malkin and other scoring stars. The Rangers will be looking for more production from Rick Nash.
While both teams had their shaky moments, the Rangers and Penguins both made it past very good teams in the opening round. The Penguins took six games to send the upstart Columbus Blue Jackets to the golf course, while the Rangers took seven to finish the 2014 playoff run for their longtime rival Philadelphia Flyers.
While there isn’t a long history of animosity between the Rangers and Penguins, there’s no time like the present to get the bad blood flowing. Look for this Rangers vs Penguins series to be a hard fought series that features lots of finesse a la Crosby, Malkin, Nash and the bevy of skilled players on both sides, along with grinding defense from Pittsburgh.
A Yahoo! Sports report quotes Penguins defenseman Kris Letang – who would have preferred to be facing the cross state rival Philadelphia Flyers – had this to say about the upcoming Penguins vs Rangers series:
“I’m pretty sure the intensity will get really high at one point when we start. The emotion is always going to be part of the game and we’re going to have to control it the best we can.”
In the end, look for this to come down to Fleury vs Lundqvist. Chances are, the better goaltender carries this series.
Don’t miss any of the action in the Penguins vs Rangers series. You can watch tonight’s Rangers vs Penguins game one streaming online live here.