The Pittsburgh Penguins could have had mail delivered to the New York Islanders zone for nearly 60 minutes. Despite more than doubling New York’s shot total and greatly out-chancing New York, the Penguins lost another third-period lead, and the deafening PPG Paints Arena crowd had to wait for a conclusion.
And wait as one overtime wasn’t enough.
Less than one minute into the second OT, Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry turned the puck over in the slot to Josh Bailey who ended the game, gave New York a 3-2 series lead and New York will have a chance to eliminate the Penguins at the Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday.
Evgeni Malkin was clearly a different play in the first period. The soft-kneed center gritted through the last two games but had that explosive spring in his step Monday night. Malkin garnered a couple of takeaways and helped the Penguins tilt the ice for most of the first period.
In fact, that lasted for four periods.
“I think we made a statement,” Kris Letang said of the domination. “We have to forget about it, (and) bring the same intensity and urgency (in Game 6).”
Eight minutes into the game, Malkin lit the lamp for the first time in the series. After Islanders forward Josh Bailey slashed Kasperi Kapanen, the Penguins executed a perfect power-play set up which freed Malkin in the left-wing circle. He took a big tide and ripped a top-corner wrist shot past New York goalie Ilya Sorokin.
The Penguins dominated the first 18 minutes of the first period. However, the Islanders took advantage of Jake Guentzel, who cycled high in the offensive zone to cover Kris Letang. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin also made a mistake at center ice as Anthony Beauvillier (2) blew past Dumoulin, then turned Guentzel inside-out for a point-blank chance on Tristan Jarry.
In a flash, New York undid all of the Penguins’ work in the first period.
There was also a statistical oddity in the first period. The Pittsburgh Penguins outhit New York, 19-17, and did it with a vast majority of the puck possession.
The PPG Paints Arena crowd was in vintage form on Monday. With every hit, every big moment, the place erupted. The Penguins fed off the crowd and added their own desperation for a thoroughly dominating second period.
Through the first 17 minutes, the Penguins outshot New York 21-1. Now, that’s not a typo. I triple-checked my typing. The Penguins did get one goal–also in vintage form.
After the Penguins killed a hooking minor to Evgeni Malkin, the center stayed on the ice with Sidney Crosby, who had just one point in the first four games of the series, and Bryan Rust. For a moment, the two-headed monster was reborn. And for a moment, it looked like old times. The trio owned the puck for nearly a minute in the Islanders zone before Rust (2) blasted a shot from the high RW circle past Sorokin.
For all of the Penguins domination, however, they led only 2-1 after two periods.
And on cue, the Penguins made a few mistakes on one shift early in the third period, and New York tied the game. As the Penguins were caught overloaded on the wall, Jordan Eberle (2) was open in front of the net. He waited out Jarry and scored yet another third-period tying goal.
It was the eighth third-period goal the Islanders scored in the series, and New York has erased four Penguins third-period leads in the series, including two in the Penguins Game 3 win.
The Pittsburgh Penguins continued to dominate play, however. The shots after 60 minutes were 41-20. New York seemingly scored on each of their scoring chances, while the Penguins pounded the net with Grade A chances.
The final shot tally was 50-28.
But only the final result matters.
Kris Letang was credited with 10 hits. Tanev had six, as did Jason Zucker (after one OT period).
PHN’s 3 Stars
- Brandon Tanev & Bryan Rust
If it moved, Tanev hit it. Zach Aston-Reese played his finest playoff game and was stout on the walls, as well as creating a few rushes too. Both were all over the ice.
- Jake Guentzel & Bryan Rust
Rust lit the lamp, but they share the “honor” their games were intertwined. They combined for 10 of the Penguins’ first 45 shots. And they were good shots in Game 5.
- Ilya Sorokin
It should have been an easy Penguins win. The Penguins should be headed to Long Island full of dominating confidence. The Islanders goalie just couldn’t be beaten.