The Islanders Return To The Playoffs-Allegedly.
Perhaps the NY Islanders forgot what playoff hockey is all about. It has been 7 years since the Isles played beyond the final regular season game so you can’t blame them. 16 players played in their 1st playoff game of their careers. It showed as the Islanders were pounded by the Penguins 5-0 and it wasn’t that close.
The goaltending was lousy. Someone please ask Evgeni Nabakov where exactly are you venturing off to giving up the 2nd Pittsburgh goal when he was so far out of his net the zamboni was warming up to clean him off the ice. Nabakov doesn’t lack playoff experience, having played 81 previous games in the post season. He only looked like a rookie. Nabakov was yanked, mercifully, after giving up 4 goals on only 15 shots.
The Islanders decided it was wise to take 8 penalties. Um no it wasn’t. The high flying Pens made them pay, converting 2 of those into goals, 1 by defensemen Chris Letang, the other by Beau Bennett.
The Pens grabbed a fast 2-0 lead in the 1st period, then added 3 more in the 2nd period. Pascal Dupuis notched a pair and Tanner Glass scored the last goal.
The Islanders were stoned on all their 26 shot attempts by last years Penguins playoff goat, that being goal tender Marc-Andre Fleury. Last year in round 1 the same Fleury surrendered 30 goals in 6 games. Fleury picked up his 6th playoff shutout, tying the franchise record by Tom Barrasso. The Penguins players stopped an additional 17 shots, the amount blocked before they reached Fleury.
Trade additions Jerome Iginla and Jussi Jokinen each had 2 assists as did Evgeni Malkin. The Pens are still without star Sidney Crosby. They won’t need him at this rate. Islander stars John Tavares and Michael Grabner combined for 1 shot on goal, that was by Grabner. The Islanders have to find a way to free Tavares to get some offense going or they are doomed.
By the way it has been an astounding 20 years since the Islanders have won a playoff series. For a franchise with great history that is head shaking. Unless Tavares, Nabakov, and their discipline start up that number will grow to 21 and fast. Game 2 is back in Pittsburgh on Friday night.