The Islanders look to take the series lead as they head to Nassau Coliseum for Game Three.
Game two was quite the opposite. The Islanders brought the heat, but Jarry stood tall, making an impressive 37 saves on 38 shots. The Islanders would head home to Nassau Coliseum for game three with the hope of reclaiming the series lead.
This would not be an easy task. After missing the first two games of the series, future Hall of Famer Evgeni Malkin would rejoin the Penguins for game three.
Malkin and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby lead the NHL in career playoff points, so the Islanders would have their work cut out for them.
1st period: As intense as we thought it’d be
The Penguins and Islanders always have intense playoff series, especially when they play at Nassau Coliseum. The first period of this game was no different. It was very fast-paced, high-energy, and physical.
The Islanders were outshot 12-10 in the first and gave up an early goal to the Penguins’ fourth line, but there was a lot to like about their game. They picked up steam and were a much more dominant offensive presence later in the period.
Mathew Barzal, who hadn’t been noticeable in the opening two games of the series, was arguably their best player in the first. It was an encouraging sight.
2nd period: An uphill battle
This was another intense period. Every one of the Islanders’ goals this series were scored on Jarry’s high-glove side, and they did it again in the second.
Barzal and the first line played very well in the first and were the reason the Islanders got on the board in the second. Some beautiful passing by Jordan Eberle and Barzal allowed Scott Mayfield to score a beauty.
Unfortunately for the Isles, veteran Jeff Carter would give his team the lead once again shortly after with a beautiful snipe of his own.
The Penguins would strike again with just under two minutes left in the third. They were the faster team and were too much for the Islanders to handle.
It was questionable defending by the Islanders and Varlamov reacted to the shot quite late, but the Penguins deserve credit for being the better team so far in this one.
3rd period: That was… eventful
The third period was the most eventful period of hockey in this series so far. The best fourth line in hockey, the “Identity Line” got the Islanders on the board early in the third to make it a one-goal game.
Not long after, a significant scuffle broke out in Pittsburgh’s zone that saw a grand total of 11 players head to their respective penalty boxes. As a result, the Islanders found themselves on the power play and were able to capitalize to tie the game.
Unfortunately for the Islanders, Cal Clutterbuck committed a penalty shortly after that left his team shorthanded and allowed the veteran Jeff Carter to score his second of the game.
Clutterbuck made up for his penalty by tying the game, but Brandon Tanev sealed the deal for the Penguins with under four minutes left.
This was a high-intensity, physical game for both teams. The Islanders showed some flashes of brilliance, but just didn’t do enough to get the win. They also expected better from Varlamov, who was quite poor in net.
Seeing as their only win of the series has come with the rookie Ilya Sorokin in net, it might not be a bad idea to turn to him in game four.
Key Moment: Sidney Crosby’s 200-foot play
Late in the third, Crosby had the chance to score, but it turned into a scoring chance for the Islanders.
Crosby showed us why he’s one of the greatest of all time by rushing back to his own zone and making a fantastic diving defensive play to prevent Brock Nelson from tying the game. There’s a reason why playing against the elites is so difficult.
Player of the game: Scott Mayfield
This wasn’t hard. Scott Mayfield was the best player on the ice on both sides. While he wasn’t perfect defensively, Mayfield contributed to all but one of the Islanders’ goals.
We mentioned he’d be a player to watch with regards to his solid defensive ability, but we didn’t expect him to be so impactful offensively.
Mayfield’s numbers: 17:40 TOI, 1 G, 2 A, 58.06 CF%, 0.05 iXG, 1 block, 1.2 xGF, 0.36 xGA, 2.8 GF, 2.13 GA, 3.71 Game Score, -0.31 defensive impact, 1.94 offensive impact, and 2.08 individual impact.
Stats are courtesy of Hockey Stat Cards and Natural Stat Trick.