It was a different script but the same ending. The Pittsburgh Penguins season is over, again at the hands of head coach Barry Trotz and again by the New York Islands.
For the third consecutive time, the Pittsburgh Penguins were ousted in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and for the second time it was to the New York Islanders. In front of a raucous crowd at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders rocked the Penguins for three unanswered goals in the second period en route to a 5-3 win in game 6 and a 4-2 series win.
The teams broke loose in the first period for four goals, though New York was gifted another soft goal by Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry, who remained at war with himself.
The Penguins quickly established a continuation of their Game 5 offensive barrage. Just 87 seconds into the game, Penguins winger Jason Zucker intercepted a centering pass and sprang Jeff Carter on a two-on-one. Carter slipped behind the Islanders defender and was unabated to the net. Carter (4) slipped it through Ilya Sorokin’s five-hole for the opening tally.
The Penguins should have been off and running, however, it hasn’t worked that way in the series. At least not for the Penguins.
Five minutes into the first period, New York tied the game when both Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby stepped forward in defense instead of retreating. Anthony Beauvillier beat Crosby to the Penguins zone for a two-on-one. Beauvillier got a free pass to the net and beat Jarry high-glove side.
Jarry has developed a bad habit in the last couple of weeks of dropping his glove and the Islanders have torched him for at least six goals in the series to that spot. 1-1.
That was just the start of the wild scoring. The Penguins kept scoring, and the Islanders kept answering, and not always with good goals, either.
The Penguins earned their second lead of the first period with a power play goal midway through the period. Penguins winger Jake Guentzel (1) scored his first of the series with a turning shot from the slot. 2-1.
But the Islanders answered, again.
One minute later, Jarry blocked a long wrister directly to Kyle Palmieri, who redirected the puck into the net.
That was the end of the first period of wildness. The second period had more waiting for the more than 9,000 fans at the Nassau Coliseum.
The Penguins again struck within the first two minutes of the period and took their third lead of the game. Jason Zucker (2) neatly deflected Cody Ceci’s shot. The Penguins had momentum. For a moment.
Midway through the period, the Islanders reeled off three goals in 2:59 to put away the Penguins.
Another of the Penguins who didn’t have a good game, Sidney Crosby was beaten by Beauvillier at the blue line. The resulting breakdowns allowed Brock Nelson (2) to be uncovered on the backside and he snapped it into the open net.
Just 13 seconds later, Jarry allowed a goal from the point as Ryan Pulock’s snap shot was untouched but Jarry didn’t see it and New York had its first lead. It was the fastest two goals in the Islanders playoff history.
The icing on the Islanders’ cake was again Nelson who finished the triple play with a wrist shot from the hashmarks. The shot dribbled through Jarry’s five-hole as the goalie simply hung his head. 5-3.
Head coach Mike Sullivan called timeout but did not pull Jarry in favor of regular season third-string goalie and minor league journeyman Maxime Lagace.
The Penguins scored three goals on their first 11 shots, but the Islanders continued to answer and the Penguins’ offensive zone advantages mattered not.
Defenseman John Marino took a four-minute high sticking penalty with four minutes remaining and that was the end of the Penguins season.
Islanders rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin made 34 saves on 37 shots. Jarry stopped only 19 of 24.