The Pittsburgh Penguins have won all but three periods in the first three games of their Round One series against the New York Islanders. The Penguins again received solid goaltending and created more turnovers and scoring chances they gave up. And the Penguins again beat the New York Islanders in game 3, 5-4.
The Penguins scoring began and ended with their fourth line, but the Penguins needed all four lines to keep their tempers in check, and dept scoring in a 6-foot-3 package named Jeff Carter. Carter and Brandon Tanev answered third period Islanders’ goals, and the Penguins will have a chance to put a stranglehold on the series on Saturday afternoon.
The Penguins could even make it the last game ever played at the Nassau Coliseum.
The teams are now on a collision course to see who will break the other. When hockey has been played, the Pittsburgh Penguins have mostly outclassed the New York Islanders.
However, hockey hasn’t always been the primary focus. New York roughed up the Penguins in the second period of Game 2 and won that period. That was very legal and good playoff hockey.
New York mugged the Penguins in the third period on Thursday. It was not legal, nor good hockey. But the NHL doesn’t award style points, and New York’s tactical change nearly worked.
Not that the Islanders will give up, but the Penguins should be close to breaking New York, who could not keep up on Thursday night in the Penguins 5-4 Game 3 win at the Nassau Coliseum. The Penguins lead the series 2-1, but the important factors are the Penguins’ process to match the Islanders’ tight game and pull the Islanders into an open game by gaining leads.
Of course, New York is trying to break the Penguins with a physical onslaught. After three games, Jake Guentzel must look like a white and purple checkerboard.
It would behoove the Penguins to put an end to this quickly. The longer the series goes, the larger the Islanders’ physical advantage will become.
The Penguins’ resilience was also on full display.