The New York Islanders looked like the team we'd seen in previous years last night. They lost their first playoff game in years by a score of 5-0.
They actually started off the game pretty decently, throwing some hits and making their presence known. This plan began to falter when Brian Strait decided to interfere with Matt Cooke, which would turn into a Penguins powerplay goal. Pascal Dupuis would go on to score later in the period, and from there the game stopped being fun to watch. Evgeni Nabokov gave up 2 goals within the first 2 minutes of the 2nd, and was pulled in favor of Kevin Poulin,who only would give up 1 more goal for the rest of the game. Towards the end of the 3rd, an incident occurred where Marty Reasoner collided knee to knee with a Penguin, which led to lots of pushing a shoving from both teams. Many players received penalties, but none of it would matter as the Penguins cruised to their 5-0 victory.
As awful as the Islanders looked last night, there is actually a silver lining to a terrible loss like this- experience. Most of this team is playing in their first playoff game, including guys like Matt Moulson, John Tavares, Travis Hamonic, and more. The team was clearly nervous going into the game and they tried to be physical, which was a good idea.
However, scoring is also an important part of winning, and they didn't even make Pens goal Marc-Andre Fluery sweat. He didn't look comfortable in net, as he has struggled in recent years, but the Isles failed to make him make any difficult saves. The Penguins defense did a good job of shutting down the top line and limiting them from doing any damage, something that JT and the Isles are going to have to work hard to get past if they want to have a shot in this series.
Personally, I did not understand why Marty Reasoner got the start in place of Jesse Joensuu. Yes, he has playoff experience but his role with this team has completely diminished. He provides nothing to the club that no one else can't provide. If the Isles wanted to come out physically, Joensuu fitted that bill perfectly, as would Eric Boulton. It will be interesting to see what lineup changes Coach Capuano makes come Friday. Another interesting thing will be how long a leash Nabokov is given on Friday, assuming he starts after playing atrociously on Wednesday night. Personally I'd give him a shot to finish the game despite the score, but that's just me.
Their next game is on Friday evening at 7 PM. You can catch the game on MSG+. How will they fare? Let me know in the comments!