Opinion: Penguins will fall to Rangers in 6

The+Penguins+have+made+early+playoff+exits+for+several+years+in+a+row.

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The Penguins have made early playoff exits for several years in a row.

Ethan Spozarski, Sports Editor

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins are the underdogs as they prepare to take on the New York Rangers in the first round of the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, starting on Tuesday.

The Pens have the longest active streak in making the playoffs with 16 years in a row. They also have lost in the first round of the playoffs the past three seasons in a row. 

The Rangers finished second in the Metropolitan Division with 110 points on the year while the Pens finished third with 103 points. 

However, the Penguins have dropped four of their last eight games, and the Rangers have taken three of four against them this year during the regular season. 

On the stat sheets, it is back and forth. Both teams against each other have pretty good numbers. However, it likely will come down to goaltending and who plays with more energy.

Starting goaltender Tristian Jarry is out at least for the start of the series with a lower-body injury, which is a tough blow for the Penguins. Despite his struggles last season in the playoffs against the Islanders, he is the favored goaltender in the net over backup Casey DeSmith. 

In 24 starts this season, DeSmith is 11-6-5 and allows just under three goals a game. (2.79)

He has earned three shutouts, one of which was a 52-shot game against Boston. With that being said, he struggles with opponents in front of the net, and he gives up a lot of one-timers. 

Igor Shiesterkin is the starting goaltender for the Rangers and he is having an amazing season. In 52 starts he is 36-13-4, and he only allows 2.07 goals a game. He is very acrobatic and flexible, and he is very good inside the crease. He has Vezina Trophy type numbers this season. 

The Pens have had a hard time with the last few games in the season. They have shown very little effort and energy on the ice. 

However, this is a rivalry and there will be a lot of energy and passion shown between both sides. The Penguins have the 11th best offense in hockey and the Rangers are right behind them with the 16th. Jake Guentzel and Sidney Crosby both lead the team with 84 points this season. Veteran defenseman Kris Letang has a career-high 68 points this season. 

This series will last six games, and end with the New York Rangers moving on to the second round of the playoffs.