For the first time all playoff long, a division winner is down the drain. The Pittsburgh Penguins are famous for their past success. The leadership of Crosby and Malkin have led this team to great things, but this year is different. These Penguins were one of the hottest teams heading into the playoffs, but that spark quickly vanished against the New York Islanders.
The New York Islanders are a team that should not be taken lightly. They play a style of hockey that is built for the playoffs. Their tenacious forecheck and rough defensive core makes them a nightmare to play against. The Penguins found that out very clearly as this series progressed further. The first line for the Penguins of Crosby, Guentzel, and Rust seemed to be invisible this entire series. Leave it to the New York Islanders to make that a reality to shut down one of the best lines in the NHL.
Second Period Beatdown
The Penguins seemed to be in complete control at the early stages of the game. In the first period, they had two separate leads within the period, but the Islanders came back each time to tie it. The game was deadlocked at 2-2 as the second period started. Pittsburgh got off to a roaring start to the period thanks to a Jason Zucker goal to make it 3-2. The Islanders seemed to be down, but they came right back.
Brock Nelson is one of the most undervalued scorers in the NHL right now. He always seems to have an answer for his team when they need one. The Penguins seem to know that pretty well now. Nelson takes a sweet slap pass from Josh Bailey to tie the game at 3-3. It was only 13 seconds later that Ryan Pulock let go an absolute cannon to give the New York Islanders a 4-3 lead. The Islanders get another one off the stick of Brock Nelson to make it 5-3 to end the period. What a turnaround to a game that seemed to scream a Pittsburgh win.
Nelson in the slot makes it 5-3! pic.twitter.com/TSiO1HoiSZ
— x – New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) May 26, 2021
Penguins Need A Goalie
This season, the Penguins based their success on their offense. Their offense was one of the most electric ones to watch all season. Crosby is still elite and can change the game in a matter of seconds with his ability. That being said, you cannot have any success in the playoffs without a quality goalie. The decision to hang onto Matt Murray over Marc-Andre Fleury is looking worse and worse as the decision lingers on.
It is the Penguins’ choice to trade Matt Murray to the Senators and name Tristan Jarry their number one goalie. Jarry is a great backup goalie, but he is nowhere near what it takes to be a playoff goalie. He is really shakey when it comes to high shots and he crumbles under pressure. This sereis exposed Jarry for all the quirks he has that was overshadowed by the dominant play of the team in front of him. When the team went invisible in front of him, he couldn’t pull it together to bail his team out. As a result, the Penguins have been eliminated from the playoffs.
Jarry finishes the playoffs with 8 more goals allowed than expected, the worst playoff performance for a goalie since 2014. https://t.co/wUSUVKH0Hb
— MoneyPuck.com (@MoneyPuckdotcom) May 27, 2021
The New York Islanders will play the Boston Bruins in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first game is still to be determined for a later date.
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