Top Shelf

Top Shelf – Islanders Daily 5/2/13

May 1, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) handles the puck under pressure from Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) during the second period in game one of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Astoria, NY – The public has a tendency to overreact to what it last saw, especially with regards to sporting events involving a favorite team. This is especially true when the performance of said team is underwhelming; all of a sudden, the end of the world has come.

As with last night’s performance by the New York Islanders, the verdict in the court of public opinion was swift and unequivocal.

The Isles played well below their capability against the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, leading to deserving criticism of the team by analysts and fans alike. But a single poor performance does not mean the Islanders have already been bounced from the 2013 NHL Playoffs. Admittedly, the result against the Pens was less than desirable – to put it lightly – but the Isles now have the chance to make the necessary adjustments.

Remember, there are at least three more games to be played between these two teams.

As Isles Nation wakes up on this day after (what appeared to be) the Apocalypse – judging but The Internet’s reaction – it should be noted that the team is playing with house money this postseason. The rebuild is starting to bear fruit, but the harvest is still a year or two away.

That’s not to say that the fans can’t be disappointed in the effort put forth by the Isles last night; everything must be kept in perspective, however.

The Islanders certainly looked like a team playing in its first playoff game since 2007, which was expected, if not welcomed. Perhaps a poor performance against the conference’s top seed will serve to motivate the Isles. Now that there’s clearly no expectation for this team other than to compete at a high level, the players can get back to what got them to this position in the first place: blue-collar hockey.

The postseason has seen crazier things. A 1-0 series deficit for the Islanders isn’t the worst thing in the world, even if the public’s reaction makes it seem like it could be.

 

Links

Crosby ruled out for Game 1 (ESPN)

The definitive user’s guide for the New York Islanders bandwagon (Lighthouse Hockey)

Game notes: Islanders Point Blank / Sports Illustrated / EyesOnIsles

 

Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere

 

Let’s remember: hometown rooting interests aside, this Isles team is not expected to dominate the Penguins. As was the case last night, most of America had their suspicions confirmed as to New York’s quality of play. The team now has the chance to prove the doubters wrong.

 

 

It helps to put the loss in perspective, as is done here. While the Isles were on the winning side of a postseason blowout in 2002, it didn’t translate to a series win for New York. Keep that in mind.

 

 

Even though the comparison is to another sport, the San Francisco Giants proved that one game isn’t the be-all, end-all of a team’s postseason performance. It’s time to focus on the next opportunity.

 

 

This is what it comes down to for the Isles: upping their level of play in all phases of the game. The series against the Pens was always going to be a tough one, but that’s no reason to abandon hope.

 

 

Last Night In The NHL

Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins (BOS 1-0)

The Boston Bruins got three points from David Krejci en route to a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first game of their best-of-seven playoff series last night.

Despite scoring the game’s first goal, Toronto couldn’t maintain pressure on a Boston team that had been playing well at the end of the regular season, but hadn’t been seeing the types of results they expected.

The no. 4-seeded Bruins weathered an early onslaught by the Leafs and netted four unanswered goals after conceding the opener to Toronto at 1:54 of the first period.

Toronto will look to bounce back in Game 2 of the series, scheduled for Friday night.

 

San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks (SJS 1-0)

Logan Couture and Dan Boyle each recorded a goal and an assist in a 3-1 San Jose Sharks win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver struck first at 12:26 of the second period, courtesy of a Kevin Bieksa goal, but could not maintain the lead as San Jose stormed back to score the next three goals.

Roberto Luongo, surprisingly, made the start in net for the Canucks after Corey Schneider was deemed unfit to play after suffering a lower body injury at the end of the regular season.

The Luongo saga may be drawn out a little bit longer if he gets the nod in Game 2 of the series. After Vancouver failed to trade him last summer (as expected), they’re now relying on him for the most important games of the season.

His counterpart, Sharks goalie Antti Niemi made 28 saves to earn the victory. Game 2 is slated for Friday night.

 

TOR vs. BOS highlights

 

NYI vs. PIT highlights (or lowlights, for Isles fans)

 

SJS vs. VAN highlights

 

 

As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your Isles and NHL playoff coverage. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff.

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Tags: New York Islanders NHL NHL Eastern Conference Pittsburgh Penguins Playoffs

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