Pittsburgh Penguins: Final predictions for the qualifying round

Today is the day, the day that Pittsburgh Penguins finally begin their run for another Stanley Cup. Before the puck drops, we make our final thoughts of the upcoming series.

No matter what your stance is on everything that has happened leading up to this moment, that fact is, hockey is officially back. If for even a few hours at a time, it gives us time to escape the troubles of the real world and enjoy a sport we all dearly love. That escape tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins starting their series against the Montreal Canadiens.

Before the puck drops (6 pm EST), we wanted to give our thoughts on the overall series and breakdown everything from start to end in what will hopefully be a short and productive qualifying round. Up first, let’s get it over with, the netminder situation.

For months now, all anyone could do was speculate and debate about who the Pittsburgh Penguins go-to goalie will be. For these matchups as we all wait on pins and needles for Coach Sullivan to make the call (depending on when you read this, you already know) on whether or not it’s going to be Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry. Here at Pens Labyrinth, we are predicting Jarry to take the nod.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Final predictions for the qualifying round

Murray has the pedigree to get the job done; however, he hasn’t shown it over the training camp or scrimmages. Another new mark came yesterday, as Evgeni Malkin celebrated his 34th birthday. We all know Geno is one for the big moments, and with a moment like this, coming on the heels of a big day, lookout. Oh, did we mention he’s had a massive regular season?

With all of the talk about Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel returning stealing the limelight, both Malkin and Jason Zucker have been slowly, quietly, getting the job done. When the dust settles, and the series is over, look for the ever-present line of Geno, Zucks, and Rusty to have stolen the series and made it their own.

Moving towards the blue line, the roller coaster ride continues. Weirdly, with all the talent in the world, some issues were still coming up over the scrimmages and exhibition games. Mike Sullivan is a wizard when it comes to on and off the ice issues, so expect him to have made this a priority as well as the power-play unit before tonight’s matchup commences.

Next: Pittsburgh Penguins: Mike Sullivan’s tough decision still looming

There you have it; hockey is officially back. On paper, this matchup seems all tilting towards the Penguins, but you cannot count out the Habs. There will undoubtedly be a period where both sides will need to adjust, but it will need to be quick. We take the Pittsburgh Penguins in 4 games, and an easy-breezy ride into the next round. It’s a great day for hockey!

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