Mama said it wouldn’t be easy: After a combined four one-goal games, including three in overtime, both series in the East Division Group of Death are knotted at 1-1, after the Penguins held on for a 2-1 win over the Islanders in Game 2.
The two East series’ physicality has increased accordingly. Each hard forecheck brings with it the chance of calamity. Each routine outside shot has the remote chance of being pivotal, with the goalies otherwise putting on a show.
That’s the playoffs.
Also, for those unaware: On the U.S. NBC feed last night, Pierre McGuire would not stop raving about Adam Pelech (though he called him a “spider” instead of a “cobra,” showing a shocking lack of creepily intimate knowledge). So, anyway, if neutral fans across the nation suddenly can’t stand hearing another word about Pelech, you know why.
Islanders-Penguins Series News
- After another slow start, the Islanders again rebounded but it wasn’t enough. In a high-volume goalie battle, Varlamov’s early softie ended up being costly. [LHH]
- The Isles know they have not had good starts this series; the Penguins know it greatly improves their chances against the stingy Isles to get the jump. [NHL]
- This time, the Isles couldn’t overcome their deficit heading into the third. [Newsday | Post | Post-Gazette]
- For Tristan Jarry, it was “easy” to be better than he was in Game 1. [Trib Live | CP]
- From before Game 2: The Isles power play could be crucial. It did not convert at a key point last night. [Post]
- Everybody loves J-G Pageau. (Well, except opponents, of course.) [Post]
- Neil Best calls the move to Varlamov “surprising” and the next decision on a goalie for Game 3 “crucial” ... I don’t agree on either count. [Newsday]
- I mean, Varlamov made the most saves by an Islanders goalie in a regulation playoff game since Billy Smith in 1977. [NYI Skinny]
- The obligatory but somehow always fresh story about how dear the Coliseum is to so many who grew up there. [News12]
- Some of the bloom is off after the Game 2 loss, but here’s Dan and Mike’s palpable excitement after a good start to the series. [Islanders Anxiety]
- Hot-takery from between the games: The pressure was increasing on Mike Sullivan. (But now they’ve won, so...) (Well, just wait till they lose again, then...) [Post Gazette]
- The quietly effective Brock Nelson line. [Newsday]
- It’s the Bang Crosby approach. [Newsday]
- The King Clancy nominees were announced, and Anders Lee is the Islanders’ deserving representative. [Isles | NY Sports Day | NHL]
- The hockey-specific USB Arena is a mix of “bowl intimacy” and “meaningful” experience. It’s going to be really cool if the reality meets the hype. [Forbes]
- Get your Defend NY tees (proceeds benefit Islanders Children’s Foundation) and other items here. [Isles Lab]
Beyond The Island and Western Pennsylvania
- The Lightning won 3-1 to take a 2-0 series lead on the Panthers, while Vegas evened its series with the Wild at 1-1.
- Cool story from after the riveting Lightning-Panthers Game 1: How that game may have made new fans among south Floridans who were trying hockey for the first time. [Athletic]
- The other day it was all about Geoff Courtnall and others maybe getting a role, now the talk is that the Sedin twins will be courted for executive roles with the Canucks. [TSN]
- Jim Benning will return as Canucks GM, however. [Sportsnet]
- And Thatcher Demko would very, very much like goalie coach Ian Clark to stay. [Sportsnet]
- The Habs will scratch their top young players for Game 1 because playoffs. [TSN]
- The Red Wings have extended Jeff Blashill, which will cause some debate. [NHL]
- The Flyers, however, have agreed to let old friend and AHL Phantoms coach Scott Gordon go. [Flyers]
- Rick Tocchet will be the first coaching candidate to interview with the Kraken, but he’ll also interview with the Rangers where you know he’ll end up. [Sportsnet | TSN]
- “Lots of growing up to do.” Darryl Sutter remains unimpressed with young Dillon Dube and Juuso Valimaki. [Sportsnet]
- Jonathan Quick will have shoulder surgery. [NHL]
- Mark Scheifele, devoted hockey nerd, also has real goats named after “GOATS” from two sports I don’t watch, but which you probably do. [ESPN]