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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders NHL First Round Playoff Predictions

The NHL First Round Playoff Games have arrived as Pickswise will be handing out daily winning NHL picks starting on Wednesday. With over a decade of combined winning experience, Pickswise is your number one NHL first round playoff resource to win. To kick off the first round playoff games, the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders from the Eastern Conference will go toe to toe. Enjoy these free NHL first round playoff predictions? Give @Pickswise a follow and get a first hand-look on his daily research.


Penguins vs. Islanders First Round Playoff Predictions

Game 1: Penguins vs. Islanders
Line: Islanders -110
Pickswise Expert Picks: Pittsburgh Wins!

The New York Islanders may have home-ice advantage for their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but is that where the good news ends for the home team? Let’s talk about playoff experience to start. New York has won only a single playoff series since 1992-93. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has been a well-documented postseason force throughout the Sidney Crosby era. Crosby and company won two consecutive Stanley Cup titles before falling to the eventual champion Capitals in last year’s second round.

The Penguins haven’t taken any obvious step back in 2018-19, wrapping up their regular season on a solid 5-2-1 run for a total of 100 points (just three behind NYI). New York is stingy on the defensive end, but it is just 22nd in the NHL in goals scored per game (2.72) and 29th in power-play conversions (14.5 percent). The Penguins are 22-7 in their last 29 playing on at least three days of rest, 4-1 in their last five on the road against opponents with winning home records, and 11-3 in their last 14 conference quarterfinal contests. New York is 1-5 in its last six playing on at least three days of rest and 20-41 in its last 61 meetings with PIT. Expect Pittsburgh to show its experience in Game 1.


Game 2: Penguins vs. Islanders
Line: Penguins -132
Pickswise Expert Picks: Pittsburgh Wins!

Playoff losses are never good, especially not for a franchise accustomed to winning Stanley Cups (the Pittsburgh Penguins have captured two of the last three, for example). But the Penguins were far from terrible on Wednesday, when they had to go on the road for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series against the New York Islanders. They put a steady barrage of shots on goalie Robin Lehner–44 to be exact–and solved Lehner three times, which few teams were able to do throughout the regular season. Pittsburgh forced overtime with a goal in the 58th minute of the contest before eventually falling 4-3.

Both Phil Kessel (82 points in 2018-19) and Evgeni Malkin (72) lit the lamp during the opener. Much unlike the Pens, the Islanders are bidding for just their second playoff series win since 1992-93. The difference in experience is such that the Penguins will likely avoid falling into a 2-0 hole. They are 5-2 in their last seven playing on one day of rest and 11-4 in their last 15 conference quarterfinal contests. New York is 21-41 in its last 62 head-to-head matchups with this well-respected opponent. You should feel good about picking PITTSBURGH to right the ship.


Game 3: Islanders vs Penguins
Line: Penguins -200
Pickswise Expert Picks: Pittsburgh Wins!

The Pittsburgh Penguins finished three points behind the New York Islanders in the regular season and thus had to go on the road to New York for the first two games of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. That proved to be costly, as Pittsburgh dropped the opener 4-3 in overtime and lost 3-1 on Friday. The Penguins have not been terrible, but they simply haven’t been able to solve Islanders goalie Robin Lehner on a consistent basis. There is no reason for the Penguins to lose confidence; they have a history of recent postseason success and it’s not like New York is some kind of juggernaut. In fact, the Isles are actually quite bad on special teams.

They ranked 29th in the league on power plays and 17th in penalty killing during the regulation. In Game 2 they went 1-for-6 with the man advantage. New York is 17-35-3 in its last 55 at Pittsburgh. The Penguins are 5-2 in their last seven playing on one day of rest and 11-5 in their last 16 conference quarterfinal contests. It is also worth noting that the home team is 4-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings between these two teams. You have to think that PITTSBURGH will come up big in what is basically a must-win situation.


Game 4: Islanders vs Penguins
Line: Penguins -170
Pickswise Expert Picks: Islanders Wins!
It could be elimination time in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday, when both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning fight for their playoff lives. Pittsburgh is on the verge of getting bounced out by the New York Islanders, who took the first two contests at home and then won Game 3 on the road this past weekend for a commanding 3-0 advantage. Unlike Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh gets to play Game 4 at home. But that is not necessarily a good thing for the Penguins, who just as good on the road (50 points) as they were inside PPG Paints Arena (50 points) during the regular season.
Meanwhile, New York was basically just as good on the road (51 points) as it was at home (52 points). Islanders goalie goalie Robin Lehner has been amazing from start to finish during this 2018-19 campaign and he has turned aside 98 of 103 shots during this season. The Pens have scored only two goals in the past two outings and neither Sidney Crosby nor Jake Guentzel (combined zero points) has been able to solve Lehner. New York is 4-0 in its last four on the road, 5-0 in its last five against the Eastern Conference, and 4-0 in its last four against teams with winning records. The Penguins are 0-4 in their last four overall, 0-4 in their last four against the Eastern Conference, and 2-6 in their last eight head-to-head matchups with the Islanders. Don’t be surprised if NEW YORK finishes Pittsburgh.
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