The Pittsburgh Penguins finished the regular season with 17 more points, 12 more wins and 26 more goals than New York did. But perhaps the most glaring area in which the Penguins outpace the Islanders as the teams prepare for a first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series is in postseason experience.
One card Islanders coach Jack Capuano has to play to counter the Penguins' experience is 36-year-old Marty Reasoner. Reasoner did not play the final 10 games of the regular season, but Capuano made it sound like he intends to insert the forward into the lineup for Game 1 Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).
"Marty Reasoner for us is a guy that down the stretch we didn't want to change too much in lineup, but when you look at his experience and the leadership qualities in the room and you look at his faceoffs ... and with the lineup that we have and the youth that we have, it would be a good situation to have Marty Reasoner back in there," Capuano said.
As coaches during the playoffs are wont to do, Capuano made clear he was not making any official proclamation about who will be in the lineup. However, it's clear Capuano would like to find a spot for Reasoner, a veteran of 14 NHL seasons and 23 Stanley Cup Playoffs games -- even if Reasoner hasn't played a game in four weeks.
Outside of Reasoner, the skaters expected to be in uniform for the Islanders on Wednesday have combined for 67 games of playoff experience. To put that number into perspective, nine Penguins players have at least that many. Another, defenseman Kris Letang, has 65.
Brandon Sutter is the only Pittsburgh player assured of a spot in the lineup Wednesday who has not previously appeared in a playoff game; New York is expected to have at least 11. Reasoner, with all his experience, hasn't appeared in a postseason game since 2003.
With Sidney Crosby (jaw) out and Brooks Orpik (lower body) likely out, the lone intrigue in who will comprise the Penguins' lineup is around the right wing on the fourth line. If the morning skate is any indicator -- and with coach Dan Bylsma, you never know -- Pittsburgh is going with skilled rookie Beau Bennett instead of veteran Tyler Kennedy.
Bylsma, as usual, said all official lineup decisions were "game time." However, here is how the teams could look when they hit the ice for Game 1: