Wow does this feel different than 2016.
That year Thomas Greiss was every bit as huge as Robin Lehner now, and John Tavares was big like Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson have been over the past week. But there’s been something about watching Barry Trotz roll four lines and so many players clearly understanding their assignments in every situation, it’s different than that series against the Panthers, even though the scoring margins were every bit as close.
And while that year I personally felt bad for the Panthers and their fans, there is zero remorse in dispatching the Penguins in short order, and watching their media and fanbase turn on the team. (Also: The Islanders are now 4-1 all time in playoff series vs. the Penguins. Order is restored.)
But every playoff series is different. Every victory has a different sweet flavor profile. This one? Instead of being about removing the monkey and ending the drought since 1993, it’s about what may be yet to come this spring and — no matter how the next round goes — how things are looking up for the next few years.
About last night:
- Sweet, sweet sweep. [LHH | Newsday | Isles | Post]
- Jordan Eberle was the first Islander to score in four straight playoff games since...KIP MILLER?! And the Islanders swept for the first time since wiping the Oilers for their fourth consecutive Cup. [NHL]
- Now the Isles are a team nobody wants to face? Well, it’s the afterglow of victory. [Best @ Newsday]
- Jordan Eberle join Ray Ferraro in Isles history. [NYI Skinny]
- There was no update on Cal Clutterbuck or Johnny Boychuk, who each left late in the second period and didn’t return. Clutterbuck took an uncalled slash to the hand, Boychuk a shot block on the lower leg.
- Who in their right mind f—-s with Robin Lehner? [Newsday]
Before last night:
- Games 3 and 4 hero Brock Nelson recalled the Islanders’ previous playoff series win in 2016. [Newsday]
- Ryan Pulock’s transformation into an elite defenseman has been huge. [SI]
- He and Adam Pelech were big in shutting down Sidney Crosby. [Post]
- Robin Lehner has been a key too, of course. [Newsday]
- And here were five keys heading into Game 4. How’d they do? [NHL]
- And how did the Islanders approach Game 4? “Calmer than you are, Dude.” [Post]
- This young Raleigh Isles fan has the Josh Bailey song down. [Isles]
- Bridgeport notes as they prepare for Game 1 against Hershey on Friday. [Soundin’ Off]
Wow, Goalie Mayfield:
#APRIL16 #NYIvsPIT #GM4 3rd period— John Smith (@ThisIsMyReplay) April 17, 2019
LOOK AT THIS STOP BY MAYFIELD! pic.twitter.com/2jJqESnxU8
Hey you, stop that or they’ll call...(they didn’t call a penalty. Well, I mean they did on Barzal, but...):
Mat Barzal has had ENOUGH of your cross checks pic.twitter.com/ZzktpBzAvn— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 17, 2019
How it ended:
Savor this moment, @NYIslanders fans.— MSG Networks (@MSGNetworks) April 17, 2019
The final seconds & the line as the #Isles SWEEP the Penguins! #LGI #YESYESYES pic.twitter.com/74rObJaGyo
Close series? Yes, for sure each game was. But also:
Final series stats: #Isles trailed for only 4:51. Pitt had an empty net for longer than that -- 5:55. #NYIvsPIT #StanleyCup #SWEEP— Eric Hornick (@ehornick) April 17, 2019
How are YOU feeling? Like a statue:
New wallpaper pic.twitter.com/Y5dQJlU7gD— Not That I Particularly Care (@KeithLHHockey) April 17, 2019
You tell ‘em, Robin:
“We have a good team and we’ve been overlooked a little bit” #isles pic.twitter.com/HKAycoTC3r— YeSUV (@IslesWhiteSUV) April 17, 2019
And you, Matty Marts:
Matt Martin: "We believe in ourselves. We pretty well just have our fanbase and our families and this group that believe in us. That's all we need. We really don't need anyone else's validation. #Isles— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) April 17, 2019
That wasn’t the only sweep last night. As you surely heard, the historic Lightning went down to a historic first-round sweep. Never before has that happened to a President’s Trophy winner. It’s also the first Blue Jackets playoff series win, meaning all 31 franchises have now enjoyed the right side of the handshake line at least once.
Poor Jon Cooper and the Bolts. The sadness:
Jon Cooper Talks Lightning’s Performance After Being Swept By Blue Jackets https://t.co/OT6havLlGo via @YouTube— Kukla's Korner (@kuklaskorner) April 17, 2019
- The Blue Jackets adjusted their forecheck and picked their poison to slow down the Lightning. [Athletic]
- Meanwhile, in other NHL scores the Jets tied up their series at 2-2 with an OT win over the Blues, and the Knights took a 3-1 lead in their series with the Sharks.
- In Chicago it’s already been the offseason for a while, but they’re looking for positives to their performance under Jeremy Colliton. [Second City Hockey]
- Alain Vigneault is back in the Metro Division and Blueshirt Banter has nothing good to say about what the Flyers have in their new coach. [Broad Street Hockey]
- In other Coach Recycling news, Todd McLellan has been named coach of the Kings. [Jewels From The Crown]