Sweep-eligible Games 4 are always a fun wild card, because the underdog can be expected to give its best, final death desperate kicks at staving off death. But as soon as any adversity hits, it can be so easy to pack it in.
Tonight the Penguins power play or general luck might turn around and give them a feel-good win in front of home fans. Or they could hit another post, face another Lehner wall, and wither in silence.
Here’s to rooting on the latter. Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here.
- How have the Islanders pushed the Penguins to this point? I have some thoughts. Also, Barry’s off-day media scrum is therein. [LHH]
- Despite all that, the Penguins will try to make adjustments, though Mike Sullivan wasn’t about to share them. [NHL]
- Podcasts? We had podcasts. Dan S. and Mike digested Game 3, the wonder of it all, and more obscure Islanders [Islanders Anxiety] while Noel and Dan P. marvel at eeeeeverything coming up Milhouse. [IslesBuzz]
- NEW! Ryan Pulock gets a signature Alex Prewitt profile in Sports Illustrated that delves into the defenseman’s summer, personality and the motivation behind him (also, Pulock’s mom sounds awesome).
- NEW! Staple on how the three veteran free agent forwards that few were excited about this summer are helping the Islanders so far this series in spite of what some numbers say.
- The Islanders know nothing is secured yet, “the fourth one is the toughest,” etc. [Isles | Newsday]
- Meanwhile the Penguins are saying The Right Things about being able to come back and stuff. [Newsday]
- But their fans are wondering, what the hell happened to the Penguins? [PensBurgh] And it’s looked like several flaws surfacing. [Athletic]
- Cal Clutterbuck sounds like he’s been drinking from the Lou “Emotion? What iz it, zis ‘emotion’?” well: “There is no expectation. So the prediction, looking ahead, we find that to be counterintuitive and counterproductive.” [Post]
- PSA: Robin Lehner has been absolutely fiiiiine. [Isles]
- You, Islanders fan, are instructed that you can dare to dream. [Newsday]
- Team notes: Scott Mayfield got a maintenance day, and the Isles are suddenly among the top half of teams with odds on a Cup win. [Newsday]
- What’s it like to coach in the playoffs? Barry Trotz and Peter Laviolette, among others, share their experiences. Turn the page from game to game is a big lesson. [Athletic]
- Prospect Report: Noah Dobson, Arnaud Durandeau, Bode Wilde and Ilya Sorokin are all still in the postseason. [Isles]
- The AHL playoff schedule is set, and the Sound Tigers are preparing for Hershey on Friday. [Soundin’ Off] But they’re not disclosing their lineup just yet. [CT Post]
- I guess Mike Tirico will call his first NHL playoff game in Game 4. Alas, if Pierre McGuire is there I won’t hear Mike. (“MIKE. YOU’VE ANNOUNCED AT A HIGH LEVEL. SO YOU UNDERSTAND THE POINT I’M ABOUT TO MAKE. BECAUSE WE ARE BOTH ELITE, YOU SEE? I CONDESCENDED TO AJ THE OTHER DAY AND I DON’T KNOW WHERE SHE...”) [Newsday]
- Assuming they lose, will the Penguins finally break up their core of Cup-winning stars who nonetheless must be crucified because short-term memory? [Post-Gazette]
The Predators pulled ahead 2-1 in their series with the Stars, thanks in part to Ben Bishop playing awfully. The Capitals were destroyed by the Hurricanes. Also, Alex Ovechkin fought Andrei Svechkinov and it ended badly for the rookie:
- The Avalanche steamrolled the Flames and Cale Makar, fresh off a Frozen Four national championship appearance, scored his first NHL goal in front of his parents. [MHH]
- It was a crazy 72 hours to get Makar represented, signed, over the border and back to make his NHL debut. [Athletic]
- The Leafs won to take the lead back in their series with the Bruins, so in true form the narrative switches back to “Toronto is doing everything right!” [Athletic]
- That’s despite Nazem Kadri being suspended for the rest of the first round. [NHL]
- Joe Thornton got a one-game suspension. [NHL]
- The Blue Jackets are also on the verge of a sweep, a shocking one, with Bob doing his thing. [Cannon]
- Meanwhile, Alain Vigneault is the new Flyers coach. [BSH | NHL]
- And at the Women’s World Championship, here’s how the IIHF explained that controversial overturning of Finland’s OT goal in the gold medal game. (The U.S. later won gold via shootout.) Personally I felt like it was the right, and tough, call, but I don’t understand how they make that call if they are saying the U.S. goalie committed a tripping penalty on the player who interfered with her. [IIHF]