Following a modified 56-game schedule that exclusively featured inter-division matchups, the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs are about to bring us two more rounds of divisional clashes. RotoWire will bring you a breakdown of each division ahead of the start of postseason play. AJ Scholz kicks it off with a deep dive into the East Division series.
Pittsburgh Penguins (1) vs New York Islanders (4)
The Penguins held the advantage during the regular season with a 6-2 record, which included one overtime win and a shootout loss, by a combined score of 26-19. The two teams' head-to-head regular-season records may not mean much, however, as the two clubs last faced off April 29. The Nassau Coliseum has been a house of horrors for Pittsburgh over the years, as the Penguins are 51-58-8-4 in 121 franchise contests in that arena. Overall, the Isles went 21-4-3 at home this year, while the Penguins went 22-4-2 within the confines of PPG Paints arena, all of which points to home-ice advantage being a significant factor in this series.
Penguins: Prior to the trade deadline, Pittsburgh's depth faced significant questions outside of its top six. The addition of Jeff Carter, who has racked up nine goals and two assists in 14 games in the Black & Gold, has changed the dynamic around this team. His partnership with Jared McCann gives the Pens a third line that will be extremely difficult to match up against. The first line of Sidney Crosby, Jake