Upset odds for Round 1 matchups

Why Penguins, Blackhawks should fear Islanders, Wild

Originally Published: April 29, 2013
By Neil Greenberg | ESPN Insider

Crosby/ToewsUS PresswireTheir teams are potent, but both the Pens and Hawks have reason to fear an early upset.

No one wants to play the Pittsburgh Penguins. They dominated the Eastern Conference with a 35-12-0 record and had the season's longest winning streak when they won all 15 games they played in March. They are also getting healthy.

Forwards James Neal and Evgeni Malkin, along with blueliners Kris Letang and Paul Martin, are back on the ice. But most importantly, captain Sidney Crosby -- who finished third in the points race despite not playing since breaking his jaw on March 30 against the New York Islanders -- resumed practicing on Friday.

That gives Pittsburgh one of the most potent lineups in the league, but an upset by the New York Islanders is still possible.

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.