-Hey, guess where we are:
-No, not quite:
-We made the trek here to Long Island. As bad of a reputation as Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum has, we dig it. This is a cool old, fashioned barn. It's rickety. It has stains every where. It has good and bad smells. It's cramped. It's hockey. The Islanders clearly need a new facility for financial reasons, but this strikes us as a fun place to watch a game. This almost reminds us of a smaller version of Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
-The Penguins are walking into a hornets nest here. This is the first postseason game on Long Island since 2007. These fans will be amped up, even if its a day game. They've wanted a playoff game for so long. That said, the Penguins have won in similiar atmospheres before in places such as Washington and Detroit. They shouldn't be new to this.
-Brooks Orpik did skate with strenght and conditioning coach Mike Kadar before the game. We wouldn't read anything into that however. James Neal was shooting pucks from the doorway to the Penguins' dressing room. That certainly would suggest he won't be available.
-We're interested to see how Dan Bylsma uses Jussi Jokinen today. He manned the left wing on the second line late in Game 2. Bylsma pointed out that was partially motivated by allowing him to take faceoff draws. That led to a benching of sorts for Beau Bennett in the ther third period. Bennett only recorded two shifts in the third. Would that suggest a potential return for Tyler Kennedy?
-Deryk Engelland and Paul Martin had a rough outing as a pairing in Game 2, especially Engelland. Does that open the door for Simon Despres? Bylsma has shown greater trust in Engelland throughout most of the season but its difficult to justify using Engelland after his rough effort in Game 2.
-The Islanders had a lot of success by moving Matt Moulson to the second line and Josh Bailey to the first line in Game 2. As the home team, they have the advantage of last change before a faceoff. Do they stick with the flip-flop or do they return to their old lines on account of having better matchups available?
-Large replica covers of Newsday celebrate the Islanders' four Stanley Cup titles:
-A large American Flag will be passed around the stands:
-Islanders fans waiting to enter:
-As far as replica Stanley Cups go, this isn't bad:
-Orange towels await fans in the stands:
-No beer up until game time:
-They're pumping some cold air into this drafty barn:
-A lost soul from New Jersey:
-In Pittsburgh, they put Islanders in their statues. In New York, they put Penguins in their elevators:
-The one (and only) concourse here is jammed:
-Mike Bossy with the 1980 Winter Olympics patch:
-The father of current Penguins center Brandon Sutter, Brent Sutter:
-There are a few Penguins fans on hand. A few Sidney Crosby fans:
-Ditto Mario Lemieux:
-It takes some ... manhood ... to wear a Matt Cooke jersey on the road:
-A few former Penguins/Islanders. Mike Comrie:
-Zigmund Palffy in the Gorten's fish sticks style:
-This is just cruel:
-Jersey of the Day: Given his role in vanquishing the Penguins in the 1982 postseason, John Tonelli:
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo, Deryk Engelland, Dustin Jeffrey, Tyler Kennedy, James Neal, Brooks Orpik and the great Joe Vitale.
-The Islanders starters are Josh Bailey, Brad Boyes, John Tavares, Travis Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald and Evgeni Nabokov.
-Their scratches are Eric Boulton, Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan, Joe Finley, Thomas Hickey, Jesse Joensuu, Anders Lee, Radek Martinek, Brock Nelson, Aaron Ness, John Persson, Anders Nilson Marty Reasoner, Ryan Strome and Johan Sundstrom.
-It appears Matt Niskanen is teamed with Despres while Paul Martin is with Douglas Murray.
-The national anthem:
19:47: Letang collects a puck in his left wing corner and is slammed to the boards by Bailey.
19:20: Tavares has a chance off a feed in the right circle but Fleury kicks it out.
18:17: The Islanders go to the net and cash in early. Visnovsky drives up the left wing and deals a pass to Okpoos above the blue pain. Okposo chops at the puck a handful of times before he finally is able to pus the puck by Fleury. Despres was trying to cover Okposo and crashed into Fleury. Moulson gets credit for the goal. Okposo and Visnovsky get assists. Islanders 1-0.
17:57: Casey Cizikas crunches Sutter on the right wing boards.
17:31: Sutter lifts a wrister from the right wing. Nabokov steers it away
17:37: Cooke is called for slashing Cizikas. Jokinen, Adams, Eaton and Murray take the ice.
17:19: Streit pounds a slapper from the left point. Fleury kicks it out.
16:12: Off a feed from Matt Martin, Keith Aucoin has a chance in the slot all alone but he loses a handle on the puck.
15:32: As Cooke's minor expires, Andrew MacDonald pounds a slapper from the left poin wide to the far side
15:17: Ullstrom controls the puck deep in the right wing corner And BLAM! He's run over a Cooke who plants him with his left shoulder to the chest.
14:32: Crosby races up the right wing, cuts around Brian Strait and lifts a wrister fro the slot. Nabokov swats it away with his glove hand.
14:26: Despres is victimized again. Michael Grabner controls the puck behind the Penguins net. He draws in Niskanen and snaps off a pass to Casey Cizikas trailing in the left circle. As Despres fails to cover him, Cizikas snaps off a wrister by the glove hand of Fleury. This place erupts in noise. Grabner gets the only assist. Islanders 2-0.
12:02: Another penalty for the Penguins. Tanner Glass is nabbed for roughing Moulson. Dupuis, Paul Martin, Adams and Murray take the ice.
10:38: Off a drop pass from Frans Nielsen, Streit chops a one-timer from center point which hits something in front.
10:03: As Glass' minor expires, Nielsen cranks a slapper from the left point which hits a body in front.
9:14: Niskanen sets up Dupuis for a one-timer in the right circle but Dupuis fans on it.
8:58: Murray chops a shot from center point but Colin McDonald goes all out to block it. Travis Hamonic, who has been focusing on Malkin, drops Malkin with a check in the slot.
7:39: The Penguins get a chance to even this up as Streit is called for hooking Brenden Morrow. Jarome Iginla, Crosby, Malin, Letang and Kunitz take the ice.
7:05: A bit break for the Islanders Hamonic holds up Iginla in the right circle. Iginla sold the penalty a bit there. That's two minutes for holding. The Penguins will have
6:43: And the Penguins take advantage immediately. Crosby controls the puck down low on the right wing and deals to Letang above the right circle. Letang chops a simple one-timer which appears to beat Nabokov by the blocker. A very simple play. Iginla gets credit for the goal. Letang and Crosby get assists. A solid group of Penguisn fans offer cheers. Islanders 2-1.
6:23: And just like that, the Penguisn tie the game. Malkin pushes the puck out of his own zone and snaps off a break out pass to Letang at the New York blue line. Kunitz races in on a breakaway. he apparches the net from the right cirle and snaps off a wrister by the glove hand of Nabokov. What an opening period! Malkin and Fleury get assists. Islanders 2, Penguins 2.
5:18: John Tavares snaps off a wrister from the left circle which Paul Martin blocks with a stick on puck.
4:09: Dupuis slams MacDonald to the ice with a strong hit into the right wing corner.
2:51: From behind his own net, Streit pounds a pass off the left wign boars. xx take the pass, splits a pair of Penguins defensers and races in on net. From the right circle, he lifts a wrister which Fleury punches away.
1:15: After Visnovsky makes a nice play to keep the puck in at the blue line, Bailey pumps a slapper on net. Fleury says no.
1:00: The Penguins ta the lead. Wow. Crosby races up the left wing, gets a step on Vivnosky and flips a backhanded pass into the blue paint. Dupuis drives into the ceases with Tavares and forehand taps the puck by Nabokov who gets run over by Tavares. What a change in momentum. How do the Penguins have a lead? Crosby and Kunitz get assists. Penguins 3-2.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Islanders 2.
-What a crazy first period. The Islanders came out with so much energy. They really seemed to feed off the emotion of the crowd. The Penguins almost seemed scared. The Penguins didn't even really generate any sort of offensive zone pressure until midway through the period.
-Obviously, the penalties were were a killer for the Islanders. The Penguins feasted on that five-on-three then the subsequent five-on-four.
-Simon Despres and Lubomir Visnovsky are having some rough days. Both players have been on the ice for a pair of goals and were victimized directly on each of them.
-Fleury really seemed to calm down after allowing the two New York goals. He had to make a few quality saves.
-Crosby actually looked better that period than he did most of Game 2. He just looked so aggressive.
-The Islanders have a 13-8 lead in shots.
-Dupuis, Streit, Matt Martin, and Nielsen each lead the game with two shots.
-Letang leads the game with 9:42 of ice time.
-Bailey leads the Islanders with 9:14.
-Faceoffs are even, 9-9 (50 percent).
-Crosby is 3 for 6 (50 percent).
-Bailey is 2 for 3 (67 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
-Pretty much all of our photos are going to be coming in the postgame. The WiFi here is really rough.
18:16: Despres snaps off a wrister from the left point. Okposo blocks it partially with a stick. The puck flutters up and is snagged by Nabokov.
18:13: Off a faceoff win, Eaton swats a one-timer from the left point. Nabokov snags it. A scrum develops Matt Carkner and Morrow are at the center of it.
17:45: Morrow drops Carkner behind the New York net with a shoulder check.
17:14: Off a turnover by Despres, Hamonic pounds a slapper from the left point. Fleury kicks it out. Grabner has a chance in tight on the rebound. Fleury eats it up.
16:20: Off a give and go with Crosby, Kunitz lifts a wrister from the left circle. Nabokov steers it away.
14:57: Moulson chops a shot from above the left circle with is blocked by Paul Martin.
14:50: Morrow snaps off a wrister form the left circle which Nabokov kicks out.
14:12: Murray blocks a wrister from Keith Aucoin in the left circle. Murry has been a puck manget today.
13:53: HUGE save. McDonald chips a puck from the right wing to the slot. Grbner get behind Niskane and re-directs it on net. Fleury does a slip and fights it off. he covers the rebound as a few Islanders hover around.
13:31: Cooke fight os af a check from Streit, spins and puts a wrister on net from the left circle. Nabokov kicks it out.
12:17: Off Bailey's block, the puck deflects up the breakaway for Tavares. He lumbers up the right wing and and attacks the net. Murray is able to track him down and poke the puck away. What a play.
11:31: Another big save by Fleury. Okposo taps a pass from the right wing to Nielsen in the slot. Nielsen pushes up the slot with the puck on his backhand. As Letang dives for a block, Nielsen lifts a backhander on net. Fleury fight sit off.
10:52: Hamonic has a chance on the right point. His slapper is blocked by a sliding Morrow
10:40: Cooke tries to hit Granber near the Islanders' bench. He misses and catches the boards. Carkner gives Cooke a shove from the bench. Cooke throws a punch in response. Officials send both players to their penalty boxes for roughing. Four on four for two minutes.
10:30: MacDonald pounds a slapper from the left point. Fleury kicks it out.
10:25: Tavares fights off Letang in the left circle and swats shot from the left circle wide on the near side.
9:20: Off a feed from Stret, Ciizkas re-directs a puck off the right side of the cage.
8:59: Deep on the right wing, McDonald lifts a wrister on net. Fleury eats it up.
8:45: McDonald controls a puck down low in the right wing corner of the Penguins' zone. He tries to skate by Letang. As he leans down, Letang sticks a shoulder in this his chest and head. McDonald goes down but appears fine. No call.
8:40: Cooke and Carkner return to the ice.
8:19: Crosby lifts a slapper from the left circle over the cage.
6:50: Malkin is rattle int he left wing corner by Hamonic who socks him in the chest with a pucn and drops him. Hamonic is drawing a ton of assignments against Malkin.
6:13: After an icing, the Islanders call a timeout to get a breather. A few Penguins chirp Hamonic from the bench.
5:00: Crosby appears to trip up Streit on the left wing wall. No call. Officials are letting a lot more go in this game than they did in Game 2.
2:50: Malkin gets free from Hamonic and the Penguins increase their lead. Malkin drives up the left wing against Streit. He spins in the right wing corner, maintains puck possession and deals a pass to Murray above the left circle. Murray grips and rips a wrister by the glove hand of Nabokov. Douglas Murray showing off some filthy hands. Malkin and Paul Martin get assists. Penguins 4-2.
2:09: Matt Cooke is at it again. Matt Martin sort of wraps him up and wrestles him to the ice. That's two minutes for holding. Malkin, Kunitz, Letang, Crosby and Iginla take the ice. The Islanders need a kill here badly.
1:31: Iginla tees on a one-timer from the left circle which MacDonald leans down to block. Ouch.
0:58: Malkin taps a pass from the right point to Iginla in the left circle. Iginla whacks a one-timer but partially fans ont he show which is wide to the near side.
0:09: As Matt Martin's minor expires, Malkin puts a wrister on net from the right wing which is off the mark.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 4, Islanders 2.
-Things slowed down a bit that period. It wasn't quite 1980s firewagon hockey but it wasn't 1990s trap hockey either.
-Brenden Morrow and Matt Carkner have been going at it throughout the past two games. This has been a fun battle.
-Travis Hamonic tormenting Evgeni Malkin is almost similiar to how Darius Kasparaitis went at Mario Lemieux in 1993. He's trying to get Malkin off this game.
-Fleury was strong once again that period. He turned away several quality scoring chance.
-You have to wonder if Murray knew something about the glovehand of his former Sharks teammate Evgeni Nabkov on his goal that period. We asked Murray for a scoring report on Nabokov but he declined to offer much.
-The Islanders have a 21-16 lead in shots.
-Dupuis leads the game with three.
-Streit, McDonald, Okposo, Grabner, Nielsen and Cizikas each lead the Islanders with two.
-Letang leads the game with 20:45 of ice time.
-Hamonic leads the Islanders with 16:08.
-The Penguins have a 19-16 edge in faceoffs (54 percent).
-Crosby is 8 for 11 (73 percent).
-Cizikas is 3 for 5 (60 percent).
-Hamonic leads the game with five blocked shots.
-Dupuis leads the Penguins with two blocked shots.
19:50: More "FLEEERRRR....EEEEE....." sing-song chants.
17:33: Of a turnover by the Penguins in their own zone, MacDonald pounds a slapper from the right point. It hits a cluster of bodies in front and deflects to the left of the cage. Grabner is there for the rebound but Eaton is there to poke it to the end board. Huge defensive play.
16:10: Crosby pushes the puck up the left wing and flips by Strait. As Crosby tries to hop by him, Strait hooks him up ever so slightly. Crosby flings a wrister over the cage. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Martin and Letang take the ice.
15:11: off a turnover by the Penguins in the offensive zone, Grabner leads a partial two-on-one rush up the right wing but his shot is off the mark.
14:29: The Islanders aren't going away. Nielsen taps a puck from the right wing boards near the New York bench to Okposo up ice. Okposo gets behind Niskanen and is off the races . He moves in net, fends off a whack from Niskanen and snaps off a wrister under the glove hand fo Fleury. Niskane gives him a shove into the cage after the fact and dislodges it. Okposo pops up to celebrate in defiance. This place erupts for the first time since the first period. It's a one-goal game. Nielsen gets the only assist. Penguins 4-3.
14:08: Malkin flings a backhander from the right circle wide to the far side.
13:50: A thunderous "LET'S-GO IS-LAND-ERS" chants rocks the building.
13:34: More "FLEERRRRR... EEEEEE..." chants.
12:22: MacDonald flings a wrister from the right point. Fleury stretches to save it as Tavares screens. Fleury covers the puck. Eaton and Tavares exchange shoves after wards. A scrum develops. Officials break it up.
11:40: Nielsen pushes the puck up the right wing and tries to cut through the slot. Murray slams him to the ice for his troubles.
11:00: Kunitz pushes the puck up the left wing and rips a wrister off the cross bar.
9:23: Eaton plays a puck off the right wing boards of his own zone.
9:12: The Islanders' Hart Trophy candidate ties the game. Wow. Tavares takes a pass on the right wing. Eaton gives him an acre of ice to work with. From the right circle. Tavares snaps off a wrister which blows by blocker of Fleury on the far side. That's a bad goal. Eaton my have screened him, but Fleury needs to stop that. Bailey gets the only assist. Penguins 4, Islanders 4.
8:50: This just keeps geting worse for the Penguins. Iginla trips up Strait behind the New York net. That's two minutes for tripping. Thisis a must kill for the Penguins. Adams, Cooke, Letang and Paul Martin take the ice.
8:10: "M-V-P!" chants.
7:45: Cooke knocks down Tavares in the Islanders' zone and steals the puck. The Penguins play keep away for a little bit to eat some clock.
7:10: Okposo crashes into Fleury and knocks him down. Play is halted. No penalty.
7:05: Off a faceoeff win, MacDonald pounds a one-timer from center point. Fleury kicks it out with a thud.
6:19: Kunitz get cranked to the ice on the right wing boards of the New York zone by Matt Martin.
5:36: Grabner chops a one-timer from the slot. Fleury kicks it out.
4:46: Tavares tries to chip and chase a puck up the right wing and is held up by Letang. No call.
3:20: Moulson steals a puck off Letang at the Penguins blue line. From the left wing , he deals to Ullstrom in the slot. Ullstrom lifts a wrister on net. Fleury kicks it out.
2:25: Matt Martin drives to the right net from the right wing. He tries to tuck it in by Fleury's left skate but Fleury holds it out. Bailey follows up on the rebound but no dice.
1:43: RING! Murray take a pass at the left point, moves in slgihtly and lifts half slapper which clanks off the corss bar. So close.
0:34: Moulson has a chance in tight but is denied by Fleury.
0:08: On a backcheck, Malkin steals a puck off Bailey at the Penguins blue line. Malkin reverses course, races up the right wing and cranks a slapper from the right half wall of the New York zone wide to the far side.
0:00: End of period. Islanders 4, Penguins 4.
-We can't recall seeing a playoff game this intense and wild in the past several seasons. At least not in person. Every check is being finished. Every shot takes away your breath for a moment. This is amazing stuff.
-The Islanders went for broke that period and it paid off. They maintained the bulk of puck possession and put a ton of shots on net.
-Marc-Andre Fleury had to ave that goal by Tavares. Even if Eaton screened. Fleury's is a goaltender who allegedly makes key saves at key moments. that was a key moment.
-Frans Nielsen has been a terror today for the Penguins. The Penguins have yet to record a five-on-five shot with him on the ice today.
-The Iginla-Malkin-Bennett line has been nearly invisible today in terms of five-on-five play.
-Okposo has been a killer for the Penguins the past two games.
-The Islanders have a 34-19 lead in shots.
-Okposo leads the game with five shots.
-Dupuis, Kunitz and Cooke each lead the Penguins with three shots.
-Letang leads the game with 29:30 of ice time.
-MacDonald leads the Islanders with 27:11.
-The Islanders have a 27-25 lead faceoffs (52 percent).
-Brandon Sutter is 5 for 9 (56 percent).
-Okposo was 4 for 6 (67 percent).
-Hamonic leads the game with five blocked shots.
-Niskanen, Murray, Eaton and Paul Martin each lead the Penguins with two.
18:40: Jokinen is centering Cooke and Morrow. Morrow chops a slapper from the left wing. Carkner blocks it.
17:31: Martin flings a wrister from he right half wall which sails wide to the far side.
16:39: The Penguins lines are all over the place. Glass is on with Jokinen and Sutter.
15:48: Dupuis steals a puck from Bailey in the neutral zone and deals to Crosby off the left wing. Crosby lifts a wrister from the left circle which Naboov fights off.
15:35: Moulson lifts a wrister from the left point over the cage.
14:42: Streit chops a slapper from the left point which is blocked in the slot.
14:09: Cooke races across the ice and slams McDonald into the left wign boards of the Islanders' zone.
13:41: Tavares tries to chip and chase a puck out of his own zone but Eaton slams him to the ice at the right point.
12:00: Okposo races the puck up the left wing, goes behind is knocked off the puck by a backchecking unitz.
11:49: HUGE moment there. Crosby controls the puck in the right wing corner, spins off a check and attacks the net. Strait gets a hand on his shoulder for a brief moment and is called for holding. That's a ticky tack call. The Penguins call a time out to get organized. Kunitz, Crosby, Malkin Letang and Martin take the ice.
11:16: Game. Set. Match. Martin plays a puck from the left point down low to Crosby along the goal line. Crosby deals it back to Kunitz in the left circle. Kunitz leans down and snaps off a one-timer by the glove hand of Nabokov. What a simple play. The Penguins escape with a win. Crosby and Martin get assists. End of game. Penguins 5, Islanders 4.
-What a game. From start to finish, that was as wild and intense of a postseason game we've seen in person.
-What stood out to us the most was the hitting. Both teams finished their checks. It seemed like no one could handle the puck without ending up in the boards. There are going to be plenty of bumps and bruises on both teams.
-Special teams were obviously key. The Penguins accounted for 60 percent of their offense through the power play. The Islanders obviously got a huge short-handed goal from Kyle Okposo which sparked their comeback, but giving up three power-play goals was a killer.
-Both teams looked sloppy throughout the game. The mistakes were multifold. Puck management was careless for both teams.
-The Penguins looked timid at times in this game. They were a bit overwhelmed from the atmosphere in the crowd in the first period and they were pretty much run over in the third period. They can't play like that.
-We went to the Islanders' dressing room after the game. They were obviously disappointed with the result but that was as positive of a losing dressing room as we have ever been in. Every player we talked to was enthused about how they played. They seemed to get some confidence in this game. As Okposo said, "We’re down 2-1 in the series but we’re right in it. We proved it to ourselves we can play with them. We can take it to them."
-We have a hard time blaming Fleury for the four goals. But we think it's fair to expect a bit more. The first two goals came on plays where Simon Despres either fell into him or was badly out of positon. The third came on an inexcusable short-handed breakaway and the fourth happened where he was screened. He stole several goals today. But he could have stolen at least one more to make this an easier game.
-That said, Fleury's teammates really left him out to dry in the third period. Getting outshot 13-3 in inexcusable, especially for a team with this much talent.
-Five-on-five, the line of Beau Bennett, Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla was nearly invisible outside of the goal Douglas Murray scored on a set-up by Malkin. The Islanders, particularly the defensive duo of Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic, seemed to bottle them up pretty well.
-Travis Hamonic tormented Malkin a bit in this game. Hamonic was asked if he was trying to get under Malkin's skin and he said, "Did we? Does it look that way? That’s part of my job. I’ve been playing against the first lines all year. Everyone has a role on this team and everyone has a little something they bring different. I think that’s one thing I’m starting to learn. How to use my physicality and learn how to walk that line but don’t cross it. And don’t get off my game at the same time. If that’s what it looks like – that I’m going after those guys – then I’ll let you guys write that."
-It's hard to not question the officiating, especially after Brian Strait's penalty late in the game. The officials allowed both teams to get away with a lot as the game wore in in regulation. Strait's penalty was a penalty by the book, but the book had been presumably thrown out well before the overtime period started.
-Simon Despres had a rough outing. He was limited to one shift after the second period. Brooks Orpik can't return fast enough.
-Sidney Crosby continues to feast on the Islanders. The byproduct of Malkin drawing Hamonic and MacDOnald most of the game is that it opened things up a bit for Crosby. He took advantage of Lubomir Visnovsky a few times.
-We can't recall a time Kyle Okposo has ever look as good as he has the past two games. He has really been the Islanders' primary catalyst these two games. He creates so many things just through his power game. He has given the Penguins' defenseman so much to handle just from a physical standpoint.
-Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum had has a bad reputation for reasons legit and otherwise. But this was one of the loudest hockey games we've ever attended. The fans were electric most of the afternoon. The noise was constant. The cheers, good and bad, were non stop. This was as much fun as we've had attending a hockey game in a long time.
-The Islanders led in shots, 36-25.
-Okposo and Chris Kunitz each led the game with five shots.
-Kris Letang, who never seemed to leave the ice, led the game with 33:33 of ice time.
-MacDonald led the Islanders with 30:21 of ice time.
-The Islanders had a 32-29 edge in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Okpos was 7 for 10 (70 percent).
-Crosby was 13 for 24 (54 percent).
-Hamonic led the game with five blocked shots.
-Paul Martin led the Penguins with three.
-Finally, allow this sign to wrap up this day: