This was thought by many to be a one-sided series. It is proving to be among the most entertaining in this year’s NHL Playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders are all tied up a two games a piece. Games three and four have had a completely different look than games one and two. The Penguins and Islanders have taken to a wild west style of play. Both team are trading goals and hits. The team that can keep this style of play will win the series.
Game 3 Scoring Recap
1st Period The Islanders opened the scoring of game two with two goals in just under six minutes. A fast start like this does wonders a team. However in the Islanders case the first six minutes was the highlight of the first period. The Penguins came firing back with three goals of their own. Scoring two of them in nineteen seconds, both on the power play. The Score was 3-2 at the end of the first.
2nd Period The second period was nothing like the first there was very little scoring. The Penguins lite the lamp at the 17:10 mark of the second to go up 4-2. The play in the Second period was less about scoring and more about not getting scored on. Both team seemed to take their foot off the gas a bit.
3rd Period After watching what seemed like two different games, the third period had a since of desperation. The new York Islanders were trying not to go down 2-1 in the series. The Penguins seemed more relaxed going into the third with their two goal lead, only to see it fade away. The Islanders clawed their way back in the game scoring two goals. To get within one, the Islanders got a SHG from Kyle Okposo. John Tavares ties the game up at the 10:48 mark.
Over Time This game ended on Chris Kunitz‘s 2nd goal of the game, only eight minutes and forty-four seconds into the overtime. Penguins lead the series 2-1. The Penguins managed six shots in the extra period. The Islanders in over eight minutes were only able to hit the net two times. I believe it says something about the Penguins experience in playoff games.
Game 4 Scoring Recap
1st Period In the first period the Islanders and Penguins traded goals only forty-five seconds apart. Brian Strait opened the scoring for the Islanders at the 14:05 mark in the period. For the Penguins the tying goal came at 14:50 from James Neal. The period ended in a 1-1 tie.
2nd Period The second period saw four goals total with both teams netting two. The scoring opened just six minutes into the period with a Mark Streit power play goal. The Islanders went 1/4 on the power play in the game. Pittsburgh came back with the next two goals. Not unlike mot of the periods in this series it was a back and forth battle. The Islanders came back to tie the game with only 84 minutes left in the period.
3rd Period The 3rd period started out with the game ties at three. Only forty-six seconds into the last frame Pascal Dupuis deflected a shot for the go ahead goal. That would be the last time the Penguins would see the lead. Penguins goaltending continued to struggle allowing the Islander to net three consecutive goals. Tavares scored the game winner, and Casey Cizikas added the final nail in the coffin to give the Islanders a 6-4 victory. Tying the series at two games apiece.
Tempers started to flair toward the end of the third, and if we are lucky it will lead to a hard-hitting and very competitive game 5,6, or at this rate a game 7. When this series started I had it going to the Penguins in 6 games. Now that the series is all tied up at two games each , I wouldn’t be shocked to see this series go to a game seven. This series may become more about poor goaltending and less about the teams offensive talents.
Goaltender Stats Marc-Andre Fleury: GAA 3.30 SV% .891 Evgeni Nabokov: GAA 4.55 SV% .846
Pittsburgh : Pascal Dupuis 4 goals, Evgeni Malkin 8 points
Islanders: Kyle Okposo 3 goals, Mark Streit 5 points
I still see the Penguins coming out on top in this series, but it is closer than I thought it would be. The youth and determination of the Islanders has caught the Penguins off guard. I think that the Penguins experience will save them in this hard-fought round 1 battle. Pittsburgh wins the series in seven games.