The New York Islanders 2-1 double-overtime win in Game 5, their second overtime win of the series, added another unique chapter to this drama between two franchises carrying playoff baggage.
The Florida Panthers have been the better team in this series, but the Isles have received the better goaltending. The goalies have stolen at least three games now, but probably none more so than Friday night, where Greiss kept the Isles in the lead until early in the third and then protected them through all of the many storms that followed.
1. How did that happen?
Heavens to Betsy, Greiss almighty, the Islanders did not deserve to win that game. I mean, they deserved it more than Game 1 (low bar alert), and it was a better performance than Game 4 (same), and if you're goalie takes you through five periods you deserve something, but...
They basically had 40 percent of possession. They were out-attempted 94-55. Out-chanced 40-23. Outshot at even strength 48-36 (48-42 overall). The Aleksander Barkov line had their way with every Islander not named Thomas Greiss.
The Isles blocked a ton of shots, and outhit the Panthers 65-34 yet it was the Isles players who were leaving the ice after receiving bruising hits.
So, in a word: Thomas Greiss. 47 saves, many of them quite difficult. Not that he'd say so:
"It's one of those games where puck just finds you. In the last couple of games the puck just bounced in."
[On the Penalty Shot:] "Every goalie is used to those situations... [My heart rate] was the same as during the game."
And you thought Game 4 would be his best game of the series.
2. That was a lot of hockey.
They played 96 minutes overall.
Ice time leaders: Nick Leddy (38:54), Travis Hamonic (34:16), with John Tavares leading forwards at 31:49. Matt Martin brought up the rear at 19:08.
On the other side, Erik Gubranson (33:55), Aaron Ekblad (32:36), with Jussi Jokinen (32:31) leading forwards. Ageless Jaromir Jagr saw 28:42.
3. Alan Quine, man.
The overtime hero scored the winner not while riding next to John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, but while cleaning up on the second power play unit. He slide from center to wing in this game on that top line, but he also won all four of his faceoffs.
Jack Capuano on Quine:
You watch video and you see his habits. You see his speed and tenacity he brings. I think anyone who plays with (Kyle Okposo) and (John Tavares) is going to be able to hunt pucks down. I like that he's a reserved guy, he's a confident guy. He's not nervous and he's playing like he should be. I like his speed and deception.
I liked his this, too:
Injuries overcome, but which might linger in the morning:
- Frans Nielsen survived a leaping high hit by Gudbranson, and came back after a visit to the dressing room.
- Travis Hamonic grimaced and struggled to the bench after an awkward hit-avoidance with Garrett Wilson.
- Cal Clutterbuck survived a Jagr shoulder to the head (missed half the third period) and an inadvertent elbow that bloodied his nose.
- Greiss survived 48 shots and 96 minutes of going up, down, over, up, down, over, and somehow he looked as fresh in period 5 as he did at the opening faceoff.
No official injuries listed after the game, but you know how all that goes.
5. The Officiating.
I maintain that playoff officiating has been generally...puzzling. But it hasn't altered this series. And it didn't Friday night.
The overtime trip by Jagr on Tavares was legit. The Derek MacKenzie slash that broke Tavares' stick was also legit, not just a weak composite stick breaking under pressure. Don't chop down that hard and that high on a stick if you don't want to face the consequences.
For any Panthers fans complaining about those two overtime power plays, you got a PLAYOFF OVERTIME PENALTY SHOT. The Nick Bjugstad injury was scary and unfortunate but replays showed they got that right too: He toe-picked in the worst spot while battling with Shane Prince. Vincent Trochek did far worse in getting away with his crosschecks to Frans Nielsen's back in the corner.
- The Isles won their first Game 5 since 1987.
- Quine became the third Islanders rookie to score a playoff OT winner, after Mike Bossy and Ken Morrow. No pressure.
- Greiss, meanwhile, has the pleasure of joining the company of Ken Wregget (1998) and Andy Moog (1996) in stopping playoff OT penalty shots.
Looking ahead, also this:
7. Thanks for letting us know.
The league announced the time for Game 6 is 7 p.m. EDT on Sunday night.