The NHLPA and the NHL virtually agreed to a 24-team playoff format on Friday night. At 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is going to make an official announcement about the format. He is going to announce other things as well with it nonetheless. With this 24-team format, the Pittsburgh Penguins would face the Montreal Canadiens.
Pittsburgh would be the five seed in the east and Montreal would be the 12th seed. The Penguins would have faced the Philadelphia Flyers in the first-round if we had the regular playoff format, but Philadelphia is the fourth seed and this is who the winner of this series would play.
The first-round series would only last five games, while the other series would last seven games nonetheless. I would expect Pittsburgh to win this series in four games because they are the better hockey team and I don’t think they would get swept because Carey Price would steal a game. The Penguins are better in all phases of the game nonetheless.
Montreal doesn’t have a superstar like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, or Jake Guentzel. Pittsburgh is loaded on paper and they should try to make another deep playoff run. As for the Canadiens, are they going to be happy just to be in the playoffs or will they try to play the spoiler role?
That maybe the case with a lot of potential other lower seeds nonetheless. I would also expect the Penguins to be solid in net with Tristan Jarry and Matt Murray. It will be interesting to see what happens moving forward nonetheless with the goaltending situation. This team should not lose in the first-round against the team that’s currently rebuilding nonetheless.
Brendan Gallagher, Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi are some of the key players on this roster, but they are more gritty rather than being skilled to a point. Shea Weber is the captain of this team. Their blueline is also alright with Jeff Petry.
As for the Pittsburgh Penguins blueline, it is shaky at time with Kris Letang, but players like Brian Dumoulin and John Marino fit the blueline really well and Justin Schultz has been shaky this season, but he can elevate his game to another level when he needs to. This blueline can be shaky at times here in this situation nonetheless.
There a lot of more steps that need to happen in order for play to return. It will also be interesting to see what will the hygiene protocols in this situation during these difficult times at the moment nonetheless. The Pittsburgh Penguins will look for their third Stanley Cup Title in five seasons after taking down the San Jose Sharks in six games in 2016 and the Nashville Predators in six games in 2017.