Fans across New York are finally starting to #beLIeve in this team. The Islanders sunk the Penguins 6-4 in game 4 at Nassau Coliseum, in a game which included items tossed on the ice, questionable penalty calls (or lack of them), and a lot of goals.
Brian Strait scored his first career NHL at the right time- in the first period of this one. The Pens answers backed with a goal from James Neal 45 seconds later. Mark Streit then scored a power play goal in the 2nd, which was once again answered by a Pens goal 58 seconds later, this time by Evgeni Malkin. Brandon Sutter scored a few minutes later to put the Pens up 3-2, and the atmosphere from within the Coliseum started to deflate. However, the Islanders played a tough game and eventually Kyle Okposo, one of the top performers this postseason for the Islanders, scored a goal in the 18th minute of the 2nd. We would go into the 3rd period with a rocking barn, and a great game tied at 3 a piece. Pascal Dupuis would go on to score 41 seconds into the period on a beautiful deflection to put them up 4-3. About 4 minutes late, Streit scored again, to tie the game at 4. Then, John Tavares scored the GWG after working hard to get to the net. Casey Cizikas would also score later in the period, which sealed the score at 6-4.
I was astounded by how bad the officiating was during the game. There were several blown calls by the refs on both ends during the game. The one that stood out to be the most was about 11 minutes into the 3rd, when Brendan Morrow slammed Casey Cizikas' head into the ice repeatedly, while a referee stood by watching and doing nothing. The fans were a bit overboard, as there was debris flung onto the ice, but that doesn't mean that the refs can completely ignore the fact that this heinous act went unpunished.
One thing that will have to improve, and I've been saying it all series, is the play of Evgeni Nabokov. He can not continue to give up this many goals per game if the Islanders hope to get ahead in the series. He hasn't looked comfortable at all, and he hasn't played well either, giving up more than 4 goals per game, on average. Luckily, Marc-Andre Fluery has also looked terrible which has allowed the Isles a chance to win games. However, Tomas Voukun will get the start in place of Fluery in game 5, so the Isles will have to work hard to beat him. Time will tell if they can get an edge in this series.
Game 5 will be in Pittsburgh on Thursday. Who will get their 3rd win in the series? Let me know!