Isles Tie Series at 1 a Piece; series heads home to Uniondale
I have to admit, I was completely and utterly shocked at the outcome of game 2. The New York Islanders, after looking putrid in the first 10 minutes of the game, made an astounding come back against a heavily favored Penguins team to win by a score of 4-3, due in large to some lucky bounces.
The most obvious headline for this story would've been the return of Sidney Crosby, who ended up tallying two goals in his return after breaking his jaw in a game against these Islanders. However, I didn't see it fit to draw the attention on the Penguins in a game where they were outplayed for the majority of the game. The Penguins did start the game off with two quick goals, scored by Evgeni Malkin and Crosby respectively. However, Matt Moulson would end up finding the back of the net only 4 minutes later to cut it to 2-1. The Penguins would then go on to score only 16 seconds later, again by Crosby, to bring the score to 3-1, which would be the score by the end of the first.
About five minutes into the 2nd, Kyle Okposo fought Matt Niskanen in an even fight which saw both sides throw good punches, despite Niskanen getting cut open. It obviously went a long way in sparking the team because 14 seconds late Colin McDonald scored to bring the game to 3-2. They would continue their solid play until Matt Martin scored to tie the game up at 3. This would remain the score until Kyle Okposo found the back of the net on a very weird play in the third to put the Islanders up 4-3, which would be the final score.
The Islanders had a lot of issues in game one, and they did fix some of them in game two. They threw more pucks at the net, they played more physical, and defensively they were a bit better. As I stated in my game one reaction, Marc-Andre Fluery has not been good in recent playoff series, and just getting pucks towards the net will be a huge difference maker. The Islanders finished with 42 shots, which is much better than the 26 they had in game one.
The main issue is that Evgeni Nabokov has now given up 7 goals in really a game and a half, which is far too much. As a guy who really carried the team towards the end of the season, he really needs to play better than he has in the first two games if they want to attempt to win another game. In addition, Marty Reasoner has to stay out of the lineup as evidenced by the outcome in game two. He was productive at one point in his career, but now he's just a slow, unphysical player who's only benefit is being marginally better at faceoffs than others on the team. With him out of the lineup, the Islanders were able to go on the huge run that they went on. Hopefully this remains the same for the rest of the series.
The next game will be Sunday, May 5th at 12 Noon. It will be played at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. However, if you're not fortunate enough to go, it will be broadcasted nationwide on NBC.