Preview before Game 1: After a flurry of trade-deadline deals, the Pittsburgh Penguins enter the 2013 NHL playoffs looking to end a three-year streak of postseason disappointment and win the Stanley Cup.
While lofty expectations are nothing new to the Penguins, the impending free agency of top players like Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Pascal Dupuis this year and Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang next year has created a sense of urgency among Penguins players and management.
If the Penguins are to eliminate the New York Islanders in their first-round matchup and advance beyond the quarterfinal round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2010, they will need contributions from everyone, but especially from these top five Penguins.
Update after Game 4: The Penguins got off to a fast start by shutting out the Islanders in Game 1 and jumping out to a 3-1 lead in Game 2. Unfortunately, the Penguins have proven incapable of holding leads and have twice blown 2-goal leads enroute to a 2-2 series tie.