The Pittsburgh Penguins went into game three of their playoff run with the series tied at 1-1. The New York Islanders have proven to be a constant thorn in Pittsburgh’s side, but the Penguins managed to come away with the win on May 20. Despite winning that game, Pittsburgh showed an underwhelming performance on May 22.
Game 3 Recap: 5/20
The only word to describe this game was entertaining. The score was a seesaw: every time the Islanders scored, the Penguins were quick to respond. The offense performed impeccably this game, and were the main reason Pittsburgh even won.
Jeff Carter is becoming a star in the city of Pittsburgh. When he was acquired at the trade deadline from the Los Angeles Kings, nobody had too high of expectations. After all, Carter is 36 and Pittsburgh acquired him for very little. So what? Well, nobody thought he would perform like this. Carter put on a dominant performance with two goals. His first goal came around two minutes after the Islanders scored, tying the game. His second came on the powerplay seven minutes into the third period. Unfortunately, Islanders’ forward Cal Clutterbuck responded later on. That is when the game got intense, and another Penguins player gained the spotlight.
Pittsburgh’s fourth line has been incredible throughout the series. Teddy Blueger and Zach Aston-Reese offer outstanding defensive play, but the third member of the line, Brandon Tanev, has really shined. Tanev’s innate physical play makes him a formidable opponent. In game three, Tanev was something else. He scored the game winning goal with a little over three minutes left in the game. The Penguins were electric. It seemed at that point nothing could bring them down.
Game 4 Recap: 5/22
They were then brought down in game four. The Islanders were beyond dominant all game, shutting down the Penguins at seemingly every turn. It was a fairly horrendous performance by Pittsburgh. Up until there was almost two minutes left in the game, the Islanders scored four unanswered goals. Zach Aston-Reese was able to score late in the game, but it was too little too late.
The first period went scoreless, but then the Islanders really came to play as Josh Bailey and Ryan Pulock scored to make the score 2-0. In the third, it didn’t get much better for Pittsburgh. Oliver Wahlstrom scored a powerplay goal six minutes in. Not even 30 seconds later, Jordan Eberle scored another powerplay goal. The Islanders were just too much for the Penguins to handle.
The only silver lining of game four was the signs that Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry is improving. Despite the score, Jarry did have a solid game. He made some great stops and was actively challenging the shooters all game. Unfortunately, the skaters didn’t give him much help. Even in one case, Blueger put it in his own net. While it was completely accidental, it goes to show how unfortunate the entire game was for the Penguins. If Pittsburgh wants to win this series, they have to keep their heads in the game. They cannot take any unnecessary penalties, and they have to provide Jarry with some help. If not, they could dig themselves into a deep, deep hole.