Same lines and lineup for a third game in a row for the Penguins.
Almost time for hockey! pic.twitter.com/FUapJnbuM7— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 24, 2021
Similar story for the Islanders who are using the same skaters and lines that they have been all series. Ilya Sorokin gets the start.
Great start by the Penguins who control play and get the better of the action. They also get what’s been a rare opportunity on the power play for the series when Kasperi Kapanen gets slashed. And the top dogs come through. A quick passing sequence from Sidney Crosby to Bryan Rust to Kris Letang to Evgeni Malkin gets Malkin isolated on the left side of the ice with space. Malkin steps up and rockets a shot over the short side of Sorokin and it’s 1-0 Pens.
EVGENI MALKIN.— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) May 24, 2021
Pittsburgh gets the ice-breaker! #StanleyCup // NBCSN pic.twitter.com/JtU7G0wQYQ
The Penguins’ forecheck is going well all period, but then both defensemen Letang and Brian Dumoulin pinch in and can’t retain the puck and Anthony Beauvillier has only Guentzel back to defend him. Beauvillier walks around the check attempt of the forward and then expertly scoops the pucks to Tristan Jarry’s short side and it’s a 1-1 game with 54 seconds left as the Islanders find an equalizer before the period ends.
what a GOAL pic.twitter.com/3hcMF3PLgP— x - New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) May 24, 2021
Shots in the first are 12-10 in favor of the Penguins. Great start but one defensive slip winds up in the back of their net and NYI escapes with a tie road period.
Pittsburgh starts strong again at the beginning of a period with a 4-1 shot edge, but Malkin gets rung up for hooking while backchecking to give NYI their first power play of the night. The Pens kill it off without giving up a shot on goal, and Jeff Carter gets a long range blast that Sorokin has to fight it off.
Pittsburgh builds as Malkin gets out of the box and gets a rare shift with Crosby and Rust. They dominate in the zone and eventually Rust gets a look from behind the top of the circle and blasts away. It goes in and the Pens are back out in front, 2-1.
DAD STRENGTH! pic.twitter.com/OAUT05kdPb— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 25, 2021
The Pens stay on it. NYI only registers one shot on goal in the first 10:00 minutes of the 2nd. Guentzel gets high-sticked by Andy Green and the Pittsburgh power play is back for a second time tonight. They get a ton of zone time and looks at the net but don’t convert.
The period is all Pittsburgh. Guentzel walks through Adam Pelech and gets a nice shot on net that he just can’t lift over the leg of Sorokin. Pens keep throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the NYI net and end up with a 20-4 edge in shots in the second.
Yet, for all the work and territorial domination, it’s still a one shot game. 2-1 Pittsburgh with 20 miles to go.
More of the same to start the third with the Pens all gas no brakes. Jared McCann sets a driving Jeff Carter up for a nice chance but the puck goes wide. The next shift Carter tries to return the favor to McCann but it looked like the defense recovered just in time
No shots for the Isles in the first 8+ minutes of the third. But then they score on their first shot of the period. Dumoulin gets checked off the puck by J.G. Pageau and the puck gets out front to Jordan Eberle. Eberle almost fumbles the puck but recovers in time to slam it into the net. Against all odds, it’s 2-2 game with 11:10 left.
May 25, 2021
Mike Matheson and Oliver Wahlstrom collide as they go into a corner for a puck and Wahlstrom’s head whiplashes around as he crashes to the ground. Play stops and he skates off with help slowly. Could have been interference but it looked like both players were going in for shoulder checks and it was just an unfortunate result and landing for Wahlstrom, so play on.
Malkin gets taken down in front of the net, play on the refs say again. Next shift, Frederick Gaudreau trips an Islander and it’s a penalty. Interesting out of the last few minutes THAT is what they call. 5:57 remaining and NYI is off to the power play. They muster one shot but don’t score.
Both teams basically turn into interference fest as they battle for every inch of the ice.
Shots in the third were 9-6 Pittsburgh, but the Islanders are able to extend the game. All you can say is, Sorokin. Shots are 41-20 through 60 minutes, but the score is tied.
Islanders a little fortunate to not have already lost this game. pic.twitter.com/0mrNtLzoU4— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) May 25, 2021
Frenetic action at both ends, playoff hockey at its finest. Both team’s defensemen at times look like they can barely move, but they keep pushing. No one scores so the “fun” continues.
Shots were 8-7 Pens in 1OT.
Just 51 seconds in, the Penguins lose. Jarry comes out to play the puck and instead of dealing it to a teammate, he tries to go up the middle of the ice himself. It’s ill-advised and right on the stick of Josh Bailey. Bailey skates in, has Jarry out of sorts and lifts the puck over him to end the game. 3-2 Islanders. Oof.
- Crosby started the game 0 for 7 on faceoffs. Highly unusual there to see him struggle since overall he’s one of the top faceoff centermen in the league.
- Malkin looked like he was on a mission this game and had one of his strongest games in recent memory. He didn’t get a point on the Pens’ second goal, but his play with the puck and decision making to hold it until the team could get back onside. Pittsburgh is a tough team to beat when 71 is one of the best players on the ice, and he was in this game.
- Malkin did take a hooking penalty, but that was a garden variety play that happens all the time and was the only hooking call for either team, so...Yeah. More unfortunate happenstance than anything else.
- The first period was just so Pens/Isles, wasn’t it? Pittsburgh is the stronger team, on their toes, generally controlling the play, they make one slip and boom, it’s a tie period after all that work. That’s what makes the five-man team effort of New York so dangerous — it only takes one bad decision or quick move and they can earn it right back.
- But the response from Pittsburgh was equally as great. They give up a tough goal in the last minute of the period. All their work gets undone. How do they respond? NYI only got 1 SOG in the first 15 minutes of the second, and shots were 20-4 overall. Excellent way to take over a game.
- Via our pal Jesse Marshall, through two periods and almost 9 minutes played John Marino was only on the ice for two shot attempts against. Attempts! Ideally with stronger play will come more shifts for Marino.
- Just a brutal way to end. The Pens outshot the Islanders 50-28. High danger chances were 16-5. But they couldn’t get the last shot of the game. Usually a double OT game comes down to the crucial mistake, and it was Jarry who made it. On the other end, Sorokin was about flawless. Tough way to fall down 3-2 in the series.
But, if there is a positive for the Penguins it’s that they dominated much of the game, Malkin looks like he is coming to life, Crosby and Rust was on ice for 2 goals for. That’s not much comfort at a moment like this, and losing a multi-OT game that a team “should” have won can be devastating, but the series isn’t over yet. Back on the Island on Wednesday for a chance to extend the series.
Playoff hockey: the cruelest of mistresses.