Round 1 Update – The New York Islanders won 3-1 on the road at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday evening to complete a stunning 4-0 clean sweep and progress to Round 2 of the NHL playoffs for just the second time in 26 years.
The Islanders will face either the Washington Capitals or Carolina Avalanche in the next round. New York coach Barry Trotz led the Capitals to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup last spring, so that would be an intriguing matchup.
The Penguins managed just six goals in the series, with New York goaltender Robin Lehner stopping 135 of the 141 shots he faced.
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Game 4 Update – The New York Islanders moved into a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal. against the Pittsburgh Penguins with another solid defensive display in a 4-1 win on the road on Sunday.
The latest loss leaves the Penguins on the brink and needing to win on Tuesday to keep the series alive.
Garrett Wilson gave the Penguins the lead midway through the 1st Period, but the Islanders responded immediately and drew level, then took a lead that they never relinquished within 90 seconds.
Robin Lehner stopped 25 shots for the Islanders, while they also managed to keep Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel off the score sheet for the third straight game.
Game 3 Update: The New York Islanders recovered from being a goal down to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in a very physical game at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Friday evening and take a 2-0 lead in the best of seven series.
The Islanders haven’t held a 2-0 lead in a best-of-7 series for 36 years, when they last won the Stanley Cup.
The pressure is now on the Penguins for the next two games at the PPG Paints Arena, with some big key performances required from the likes of Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin.
Jared McCann missed out for the Penguins due to an upper-body injury to be replaced by Teddy Blueger.
Game 2 Update: A Josh Bailey goal at 4:39 of overtime finally secured a 4-3 victory for the New York Islanders against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1, after the Penguins fought back to level on three separate occasions in regular time. The pressure is now on the Penguins to avoid going two down in the series.
The Pens have a big advantage in power plays, having had the league’s fifth-best average at 24.6% in the regular season. The Islanders’ power play ranked only 29th in the league, at 14.5%.
Andrew Ladd is a long-term absence for the Islanders with a torn ACL.
The New York Islanders meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Round 1 matchup in the Eastern Conference NHL playoff series.
The Islanders finished three points clear of the Penguins in the regular season of the Metropolitan Division, so giving them home-ice advantage in four games should the series against the Penguins go the seven-match distance.
This series is a rematch of the 2012-13 season, when the Penguins prevailed 4-2. On that occasion the Penguins had the home-ice advantage, but this time the Islanders have home-ice advantage in a series for the first time since the 1987-88 playoffs.
The Islanders has averaged 2.72 Goals per Game (22nd in the overall NHL standings), while allowing only 2.33 Goals per Game (1st overall) to win the Jennings Trophy which is given to the goaltender(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it. Anders Lee has scored 28 goals, while Mathew Barzal has contributed 44 assists.
The Penguins have averaged 3.30 Goals per Game (6th overall), while allowing 2.90 Goals per Game (14th overall). Jake Guentzel has scored 40 goals this season, while Sidney Crosby has recorded 65 assists.
In the regular NHL season it finished two wins apiece when the teams met, although the Penguins won each of the last two games.
There are currently no lines available on the playoff games, but there is certain to be precious little to choose in the betting odds between the teams in this.
In terms of our NHL playoff predictions, although they are not the team they were a few years back and they are having to cancel out home-ice advantage, the Penguins still look the stronger roster overall and so they are the picks to win the series. In terms of a series score, a 4-2 win for the Penguins looks viable.