The first ever playoff game in the Barclay’s Center was underway and this Islanders team has shown they are not like ones we have seen before. I think the tough seven game series against the Caps definitely helped the boys mature. Last night, they quickly found themselves down 2-0. Then Ryan Pulock scored a five on three power play goal. Unfortunately, the Panthers answered quickly to go up 3-1. This is where the old Islanders would have probably let things get out of hand, but not this team.
Shane Prince scored an adrenaline releasing goal that nearly had me screaming in the school library. And talk about going hard on the celly.
So the deficit was cut to only a single goal and the Isles definitely had full control of the game’s momentum. Later in the second period, Islander forward Franz Nielsen netted a power play goal with assists from Tavares and Okposo. That line has been absolutely lethal in this series, which is exactly what you need from your top line in the playoffs. If you have a first line that consistently puts points on the board, then that puts a ton of pressure on the opponent’s second and third lines. If you can couple a dominant top line with depth and secondary scoring the way the Isles have done so far, you will win games.
After the Islanders evened the score, the Isles and Cats experienced their first scoreless period of the series as they moved to a sudden death overtime period. I think this speaks for itself.
The New York Islanders had an up and down season, but they really started playing well in the final weeks (Reminds me of the team from Manhattan). So, if the Isles have the first line and they have depth in their other lines, what are they missing?
Goal tending. It seems like they have the offense, the defense could be a little better even though it is solid, but they really just need a goalie that can take over and put the team on his back. In the playoffs, one game means everything. It is a HUGE advantage to have a elite goalie. You are inevitably going to have a bad game, but if you have a guy that can keep the other team off the scoreboard or limit them to a goal, that increases your odds of winning.
The Isles should have Halak back in the lineup by the second round (should they get there). This may be something that spurs them on a run not too many people suspected. All they can do now is strive for five!
– R. Ilardi