Game 1 was in hand. The Pittsburgh Penguins controlled the pace and flow of the game until the New York Islanders pushed back, and the Penguins couldn’t keep the puck out of their net. New York rallied to tie the game in the third period, even took the lead before finally beating the Penguins 4-3 in OT at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday.
The Penguins were disorganized at the start of the third period. And New York seized the opportunity.
“Maybe in the third, we were a little bit on our heels. They caught us in transition a couple of times just from pucks that we didn’t get in and kind of got stuck on the ice,” Cody Ceci said. “So we played well for the most part. But they’re a good team. We’re a good team. So it’s a tight game.”
That was one New York adjustment. They were much tighter and harder on the pucks in the third period. They attacked the Penguins dump-ins. As a result, a few (or more) didn’t get into the zone, and New York transitioned.
The Penguins have lost 10 of their last 11 playoff games. You probably had a few choice words for the Penguins goaltender, Tristan Jarry. Chances are, he did, too. Four goals, high glove side, all of which were stoppable with better positioning.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan defended his goaltender and laid blame on the group.
“I know we have more to give. We have the ability to be a better team,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “I thought there were moments when we were really good in the game. I thought there were moments when they had it. It was a really even game … We’ve just got to make sure we learn from this and see what we can take from it and get ready for the next one.”