If there's one thing this series has taught us, it's to never predict a playoff series ever again.
It wasn't your run-of-the-mill 1 seed vs. 8 seed matchup even before the series began. In a regular 82-game schedule, this Isles team may have been overtaken by the Flyers and/or Devils by the end of the regular season. Coupled with the huge logjam at the bottom of the East, the Isles weren't your typical 8 seed. They could've easily been a 5 seed.
However, the Pens' juggernaut had everyone (including us) looking at this matchup as a walk in the park. And it was anything but. The main thing no one could have foreseen was the collapse of Marc-Andre Fleury, forcing Bylsma's hand to make the move no NHL coach wants to make in the middle of a playoff series.
In came Tomas Vokoun with the series tied two games apiece, and he rose to the occasion, stopping 66 of 69 shots on his way to a 1.41 GAA and .957 SV%. Goalie stats and goalie play in general are largely dependent on how the defense performs, and there are people who will vehemently argue that the Pens closed out this series due to the defense getting smarter. We just can't buy into that. Sure, the defense played tighter. Sure, Bylsma made some other noticeable changes like getting away from the long stretch passes for a bit and making some crucial lineup decisions. But the fact remains that Tomas Vokoun was routinely making saves on shots that had been going through Fleury. Case closed.
But for the moment this isn't about the
pending goalie controversy sweeping the Pens' fan base. It's about a burial of the New York Islanders.
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