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Islanders Playoff Puck Talk – Game 4 at Pittsburgh

The New York Islanders completed the sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning Game 4 on the road and taking four straight from the former Stanley Cup champions.  This series sweep was not as much of a shock as the Columbus-Tampa Bay series, but nonetheless no one could have predicted that the Islanders would sweep the Penguins in the first round.

Game 4 – Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 – New York Islanders @ Pittsburgh Penguins

Score – 3-1 Islanders

Player of the game – Robin Lehner

Grade – B

The Islanders didn’t necessarily play their best game but they played well enough to win the game and clinch the series.  They had a couple of lucky bounces and more than a few game saving plays along the way.  It’s all in a day’s work.  Unfortunately that work got tougher immediately, as the Penguins scored just 35 seconds in off a great Jake Guentzel shot in the slot.

The Islanders did what they always do;  Weather the storm and come right back.  Jordan Eberle scored 95 seconds later to tie the game up off another beautiful 2-on-1 sequence with Mathew Barzal.  Brock Nelson tucked one late in the first period after a great forecheck by Tom Kuhnhackl and an even better behind the back pass by Josh Bailey.

The second period was more of the same stifling defense the Islanders portrayed in Pittsburgh.  They gave them nothing in the second period even with Sidney Crosby playing probably his best game of the series.  It was impressive how few chances the Islanders actually gave this Penguins team.  The only real chance the Pens had was a wide open net on a PP that Sidney Crosby rang off the inside of the post in tight.

The third period came and went with some excellent chances for both teams, including a Penguins PP where it looked like they would score five or six times.  Probably the biggest save of the game was a Scott Mayfield leg save on a shot by Phil Kessel at a wide open net.  Mayfield stuck his leg out and saved what would have been a surefire tying goal.

Josh Bailey, off a beautiful faceoff win by Valtteri Filppula, was able to loft a 180 foot empty net goal home with just 42 seconds left to win the game.  The 3-1 Islanders win and the 4-0 series win are just another step in a long playoffs.  However, the Islanders pretty much dominated the Penguins for most of this series.  There were a lot of fortuitous bounces but at the same time the Islanders just played better.

Game Notes

  • Another strong effort by Robin Lehner.  He made 32 of 33 saves, including a few on the Penguins’ PP
  • Mathew Barzal had five assists in the series and looks poised to continue his dominance in the post-season
  • Jordan Eberle is looking to continue his playoff goal-scoring streak.  He’s one goal away from breaking the franchise record, set by Ray Ferraro in the 1993 Stanley Cup Playoffs
  • Anthony Beauvillier continues to shine in his playoff debut.  Despite only having one point Beau has been all over the ice

The Islanders are moving on to the second round thanks to a complete team effort and some excellent coaching by Barry Trotz and his staff.  They completely shut down the potent Penguins attack and frustrated them to no end.  This is a special group of players and this is only the beginning of the Stanley Cup Playoffs journey.

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