This series has been electric thus far.
It has everything you’d want from an Islanders playoff series: a game with back-and-forth chances and a game with stellar Trotzian control. The scapegoat run out of the Oilers organization with two critical goals. The longest-tenured soldier, also a long-time scapegoat, with two critical goals. Superstar playmaker playing like a superstar playmaker. Stanley Cup winning coach out-coaching Stanley Cup winning coach. Smart defense. Big hits. Great goaltending. And two huge Islanders wins on Coliseum ice. They take a 2-0 lead into Pittsburgh on national TV.
They can’t stop yet. They need to maintain this pace, and they’ll continue to outplay the Penguins if they do. I think they can. However, I don’t know if I can maintain their pace. I might damage my vocal cords if I do.
I probably will.
Reliving last night’s Game 2:
- The Islanders are frustrating the Penguins, and it’s showing. It got nasty quick, and I don’t think Pittsburgh enjoys playing that way. [LHH]
- But they played smart. They played better in Game 2 than they did in Game 1. It was a matter of breaking through Matt Murray. [Newsday]
- Anthony Beauvillier set up the play that eventually left the puck sitting there for him on the tying goal, Jordan Eberle broke the tie, and Josh Bailey got the insurance on the power play. From that point on, it was Barry Trotz hockey time. Islanders hockey, I should say. [Islanders]
- Barry Trotz implored us to be louder throughout the game, because the other night we lost it a little when the Penguins kept tying it up. Last night, though, we rallied and stayed into it even after Pittsburgh took the lead. [NHL]
- Oh, and it’s the franchise’s first 2-0 series lead since the 1983 Cup Final. [NYI Skinny]
- Sights from the victory. [Newsday Photos]
- Over at Pensburgh, they’re quite complimentary of the effort put forth by the Isles these two games, particularly their stout defense backed up by strong goaltending. And, if you can believe it, the Islanders’ speed. That’s right: we worried about how fast Pittsburgh was gonna be, but the shoe is on the other foot. Never thought I’d see it. (If you venture over there, please be kind and civil.) [Pensburgh]
Trotz liked the way everyone competed, and how the Islanders withstood the Penguins coming out hard early on:
When Islanders coach Barry Trotz was asked Friday morning what role momentum plays in NHL playoff series, he did not hesitate, saying:
“Zero. Zero-point-zero, if there’s anything less than zero. Every game is its own entity. Once it’s over, you don’t look back. You have to look forward.”
— Neil Best, Newsday
- The Islanders knew coming in that momentum doesn’t carry over from game to game; it doesn’t matter once the final horn blows what you did that game. Trotz further reinforced it. [Newsday]
- Mat Barzal, he of two critical primary assists last night, loves how focused the Islanders have been. Playoff hockey has been everything he’s dreamed of. [Newsday]
- He, Beauvillier, and Devon Toews don’t look like playoff rookies, that’s for sure. [Newsday]
- It’s so much fun watching what Bailey has done these last two games. And it’s true: we used to chide him with that version of “Hey Baby,” but now it’s out of love. [Newsday]
- Do we dare root against a Coliseum return? If they manage to pull off the sweep in Pittsburgh, a big ‘if,’ the Old Barn will close up shop for the year and the Islanders will move over to Barclays Center. [Newsday]
- The Sound Tigers got blown out by the Springfield Thunderbirds, but it has been guaranteed that they will face the Hershey Bears in the first round. Just a matter of who hosts Game 1. [Soundin’ Off pregame | CT Post postgame]
Last night’s playoff scores included three more series continuing play from Wednesday night’s Game 1 (Stars at Predators resumes today after a two-day layoff). In the other three Game 2’s, the road team was victorious. The Blue Jackets blew out the mighty Lightning on the road to take a 2-0 lead over the President’s Trophy winners back to Columbus in a turn of events I think literally no one would have predicted. The Blues and Jets traded leads until they began the third period tied, but St. Louis went up 4-3 early in the third on a Ryan O’Reilly goal and held on to take their own 2-0 lead back home. And the Golden Knights jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first before the Sharks got three in three minutes to end the first tied. They thought they had a 4-3 lead but it was called back for penalized goaltender interference, and on the ensuing power play, Vegas got a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, knotting the series at 1 heading back to Nevada.
- Part of the Blues’ success in these first two games, and down the stretch of the season, was goaltender Jordan Binnington, who refused to take a career defeat. [ESPN]
- The Predators lost Game 1 partly due to their inability to capitalize on good chances on their power play, which continues to struggle. [PHT]
- Joel Quenneville caught up with ESPN about his reasons for going to the Panthers, his feelings on his departure from the Blackhawks, and the shot-skis video from the Bears tailgate. [ESPN]