The Islanders and Penguins shift to Pittsburgh for Game 3 in this best-of-seven set. The Islanders are looking to take a commanding 3-0 series lead, while the Penguins want to at least force Game 5 to be necessary. It’s an early start in this one: noon on NBC. Have your coffee, mimosas, and Bloody Mary’s ready.
FIGs can go here. Don’t be late!
- Jordan Eberle is haunted by his 2017 playoff run with the Oilers, in which he recorded only 2 points in 13 games, but as he continues to slay these demons with clutch play, the Islanders are beating the Penguins at their own skilled game. [The Athletic]
- A road playoff game can be a challenge, but it’s one the Islanders, 24-14-3 on the road this season, are ready for. [Newsday]
- They kept Sidney Crosby pointless again in Game 2’s victory and didn’t let him threaten too much, a big key to the win. [New York Times]
- Meanwhile, Crosby expects more urgency from his team after losing Game 2. We should all be expecting that — they’re a team down 0-2 and back in their building. [NHL]
- But the Islanders vow to not let up for Game 3, and I believe it when they say it. [NHL]
Barry Trotz says they’re just focused on getting another game:
- A big piece of their success in containing the high-octane offense of Pittsburgh has been their forecheck, which the Penguins will have to figure out if they want to get their offense back on track. [The Athletic]
- The Islanders are proving to Crosby and the Penguins that they belong in the conversation this postseason, according to Larry Brooks. [NY Post]
- And they know that, despite being up 2-0, they can take nothing for granted. A seven-game series isn’t over until one team wins four games. [Newsday]
- Defenseman Darius Kasparaitis, a man so bruising that even his last name sounds like an ailment he’d inflict upon the opposition, was a legend for both the Islanders and Penguins. And he’s a funny dude. This is an awesome read — the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette catches up with him during the series between his two most memorable teams.
GM Lou Lamoriello is pleased with the success so far, but he feels (almost) nothing:
When I asked Lou Lamoriello on Saturday to describe his emotions watching the Islanders take a 2-0 first-round lead over the Penguins, this is what he said:
“The emotions are no different than I’ve had in the past in playoffs. This is what you prepare the whole season for. I’m not an emotional person, so I don’t know what that means, but if you’re asking me if you feel good when the end results come out on a positive, absolutely. But you don’t rest on it.
“This is a looong process, and it’s not one that you can get high on and that you can get low on. You just have to stay the course . . . I don’t have any other feeling.”
— Neil Best, Newsday
I’m cracking up over here at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. “I’m not an emotional person, so I don’t know what that means...”
- Robin Lehner’s story of battling addiction and mental-health issues has made him a fan favorite on Long Island since Day 1. Is someone cutting an onion in here? [Newsday]
- The Sound Tigers played the baby Penguins yesterday on the road and Mitchell Vande Sompel scored twice to help Bridgeport to a 5-2 victory in their last game of the regular season. The win clinches second in their division, and they will have home-ice in their first-round series with the Hershey Bears. [CT Post | Soundin’ Off pregame | Sound Tigers postgame]
- The Worcester Railers missed the playoffs, but owner Cliff Rucker is keeping this season in perspective and looking forward to next season. [Telegram]
Three of the four games yesterday needed extra time.
- The Hurricanes quieted the Washington crowd with a tying power play goal with five minutes left in regulation, but Brooks freakin’ Orpik won it two minutes into overtime for the Capitals to give them a 2-0 series lead.
- The Stars and Predators played to a 1-1 tie through regulation, and the goalie duel was tied pretty much all game — Dallas scored first but Nashville tied it up minutes later — and a puck floating in the air fell at the feet of Craig Smith, who fired quickly. Ben Bishop didn’t even know he took a shot, and the Preds evened the series 1-1.
- The Bruins were all over the Maple Leafs from the drop of the opening puck, and took home a 4-1 victory. Nazem Kadri will likely be suspended for late-game head-hunting; you’ll remember he lost his temper during these two teams’ series last season and was suspended. Not a wise man, I’d say! The series is tied 1-1.
- And the Flames looked like they had a 2-0 series lead locked up, but the Avalanche tied the game with their goalie pulled with less than three minutes left to send it to OT. Captain Nathan MacKinnon brought jubilation to Colorado with his goal off the rush eight minutes into overtime and tied the series at 1-1.
- Nikita Kucherov will not be available for the Lightning tonight as they try to rally down 0-2 on the road against the Blue Jackets. He was suspended one game for his ugly, dangerous boarding penalty toward the end of Game 2’s blowout. That doesn’t help Tampa Bay’s chances, I’d wager. [NHL Player Safety]
- As the Sabres search for a new coach to replace Phil Housley, Die by the Blade nominates Adam Oates for consideration. [DBTB]