Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Islanders
Penguins Lead 2-1
ROOT, NBCSN, MSG Plus, TSN, RDS - 7:00 pm/et
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum - Uniondale, NY
Game four is a big game. At the end of the night the series could be 3-1 and the Penguins could have a commanding lead or it could be 2-2 and the Penguins fanbase could become unglued.
The Islanders have been a tough opponent. Probably tougher than most expected. In 5-on-5 play, the Penguins have scored seven goals and the Islanders have scored six. That one goal isn't much of an advantage. Defensively, the Penguins have not been good. This looks a lot like the Philadelphia series from last year.
The difference has been special teams.
In these playoffs, the Penguins penalty kill is working at a 90.9% success rate. In last year's playoffs it was 47.8%. That's a huge difference and it's one of the main reasons that the Pens are up 2-1 instead of crumbling apart. On the other side of the ice, the Islanders penalty kill is working at 53.8%. That's another huge reason the Penguins are leading the series.
Empty Netters is guessing they'll both be in but that would involve a heathy line-up and we just can't bring ourselves to imagine that.Add a comment
This one may inspire a bit of anger from some people.....
"The Most Amazing Thing About The Most Amazing Player."
Yeah, who could be upset at that?....
Sidney Crosby is on one of two Sports Illustrated covers this week. From the SI website:
Sidney Crosby is still only 25 years old (!?!) and has returned from a fractured jaw to anchor the Penguins in the playoffs. The Eastern Conference's top team would probably do just fine without him, but Crosby is simply, well, amazing according to Michael Rosenberg.
We assume "Greatest Human Being or Greatest Human Being in History?" was their second choice for a headline.Add a comment
Via the NHL:
Letang, 26, shared the League scoring lead among defensemen with 38 points, taking seven fewer games to reach the total than Subban. Letang missed 13 games with an injury.
Exhibiting a fluid skating stride that allows Letang to eat up ground and get back on defense, the Penguins defenseman topped all defenseman with 33 assists, a total topped by only 11 forwards this season.
Only six defensemen averaged more time on ice per game than the 25:38 Letang played per game. He played for Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma on both the penalty kill and the power play, where he had 13 of his 38 points.
He probably won't win but, if he does, get ready for a bunch of "Erik Karlsson would have won but Letang's teammate injured him!" posts and articles from Ottawa.
Only one Penguins player has ever won the Norris Trophy. Current Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle did so back in 1980-81.Add a comment
A guy named Steve Wozniak wrote something for Yahoo Sports about how Murray is the weak link on the Pens' blue line. The article mentions that Deryk Engelland can go stride-for-stride with speedy NHL forwards, so there's that. Also, this gong show was written on the heels of Game 3, which makes it all the more puzzling.
Here are some good quotes from the article:Add a comment
Someone may die in the Sens/Habs game tonight.
You know it's playoff time when you're visiting WhoWins.com every morning. According to that great website, history tells us that teams in the Pens' position (leading a seven-game series 2-1 and playing Game 4 on the road) are 120-129 all-time in Game 4. That's a winning percentage of .482.
-- In case anyone gives a shit about Kerry Fraser's opinion on the Strait/Crosby thing, here it is.
Anyone know what Claude Giroux is up to? We do...Add a comment
If All-State named its insurance plans, everyone would be ordering the Paul Martin Plan. Martin got off to a rough start this series, but his performance in the third period and overtime of Game 3 may have saved the game and, in fact, the series.
Kris Letang has been putrid (by Letang standards) in this series. With Orpik out, it looks like Letang is trying to do way too much. You don't have to go down on every Penguins player all the time. You can admit that Kris Letang hasn't played his best in this series.
Matt Niskanen was good (and has been good all season). That scrap with Okposo seems to have spanked him up a little bit.
Deryk Engelland has been Deryk Engelland.
Simon Despres looks like a guy in a highly visible and crucial role experiencing his first playoff series.
The armor that Mark Eaton has been wearing all season got dented in Game 3.
Douglas Murray has been on his own island. We'll be discussing Murray in a separate post.
But this post belongs to Paul Martin. Here are four potentially game-saving plays Martin made in Game 3:
Add a comment
With a healthy line-up, Jarome Iginla would likely play alongside Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis. Evgeni Malkin would play with James Neal and Chris Kunitz. Those combinations have proven successful in the past. There's no doubt that Evgeni Malkin and James Neal have great chemistry with one another and Chris Kunitz played well alongside them last season. Crosby and Dupuis also have good chemistry with one another and, in the brief moments that they've played together, Crosby and Iginla seem to gel pretty well. Yes, Chris Kunitz also fits in very well in with Crosby and Dupuis, but that puts Jarome Iginla on a line with Evgeni Malkin.
Maybe that's not the best combination.
Both Jarome Iginla and Evgeni Malkin are incredibly talented players. This is not a post that is meant to knock their ability or their performance during the playoffs. They've both picked up a lot of points in this series. However, they've also received a lot of attention from the Islanders defense and checkers. In addition, they may not be the right two players for one another. With James Neal out with an injury, they've played together and it's looked off. Malkin's style and Iginla's style do not seem to mesh.
Mike Colligan has more:Add a comment