Isles Earn Series Sweep Over the Penguins
By Patrick Hoffman
Don't look now folks, but the New York Islanders swept the Pittsburgh Penguins after beating them by a score of 3-1 in Game 4 on Tuesday night, April 16.
They are moving on to the second round guys. This is something that has not happened a lot since the 80's, but considering the way they played last season and the year before that, this is a huge accomplishment for this franchise.
Going into this series, no one was quite sure what to think. In the Penguins, you had a team that won two of the last three Cups and in the Islanders, you had a team that just established its true identity this season and was simply looking to keep on the right path.
Well, the Islanders were certainly on the right path in their series sweep over the Penguins. They played extremely well defensively, got timely goal scoring, and when he needed to, netminder Robin Lehner came up with the big saves.
Everyone knows that the Penguins have an unbelievably talented offense. They can put the puck in the net, create offense from everywhere on the ice, and can blowout teams with their high-octane offense.
None of that happened for the Penguins in this series because the Islanders' defense was outstanding. In four games, the Islanders allowed just six goals. Yes, a team with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and others were shutdown in a big way.
The Islanders were also able to shut these guys down because Lehner was fabulous between the pipes. He was calm between the pipes, always kept his team in the game, made the big stops when he needed to, and was easily one of the team's best players in this series.
Lastly, this club got a lot of timely offense up and down the lineup. Guys like Jordan Eberle (6 points), Mathew Barzal (5 points), Josh Bailey (4 points), Valtteri Filppula (4 points), Brock Nelson (3 points), and Anders Lee (3 points) all did what they needed to do to chip in offensively.
Islanders' head coach Barry Trotz also deserves some credit. Simply put, the style of play he implemented with this club works. It worked all season long and it clearly worked in their first round sweep of the Penguins.
For Trotz, that's now his fifth straight series win. Let's see what he and the Islanders can do come the second round.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.
For comments and hip checks, feel free to contact Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @pathoffman35.