One of the great things about the playoffs is the sense that anything can happen. It's an overstated narrative, but it's somewhat true when you think about it. Crazy things happen in a seven-game sample size (goalies standing on their heads, certain players going through a hot streak, etc.) and the heavily favored team doesn't always win. In this Pens/Isles series, the script has been flipped a bit. The Penguins are the top-seed and heavily favored coming in but they have actually been outplayed by the the Islanders in two out of three games. It might sound strange to the casual fan, but the Penguins have had a very tough time handing with the Islanders this series and are very fortunate to be leading two games to one.
The Penguins "stunning" depth looked outmatched by the Islanders top-nine today, as they were outchanced 21-12 and recorded only eight scoring chances at even strength. I don't care how talented your lineup is, this kind of offensive production isn't going to cut it in the playoffs even if they advance out of the first round. Yet, despite having such a low offensive output, the Pens were able to beat Nabokov five times and convert on a little under half of their scoring chances. Whether you want to chalk it up to a strong power play, luck, "killer instinct," "efficiency" or brutal goaltending from Evgeni Nabokov is up to you, but the Pens seemed to have the golden touch whenever they shot the puck today for whatever reason.
I think the Penguins are a better team than what they have shown the last couple of games, but the Islanders deserved a better outcome than what they got today since they were the better team. However, as I said earlier, the better team doesn't always win in a seven-game series and getting a win today can help give the Pens a boost for the rest of the series. They are going to need to come out a lot stronger than they did today, though because the Islanders have really been giving them a hard time.no comments