Middletown, N. J. – Kyle Okposo has been in absolute beast mode for the last eight weeks. It was never more evident than his dominating performance of game two of the Eastern conference quarter final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Forechecking, offensive zone entry, the game-winning goal and oh, of course, this…
That changed the tide of the entire game against the Penguins, who spent the remainder of the evening frustrated at the style the Islanders chose to employ against them.
Marc-Andre Fleury, as shaky as you can be while garnering a shutout in game one, was just as ineffective in game two and you have to wonder if those images of last season’s opening round defeat to the Philadelphia Flyers might now begin to creep back into his mind. Does Dan Bylsma make a change and go to Tomas Vokoun? The safe money bet is no, he will stick with the goaltender who won him a Stanley Cup.
- Offense, offense and more offense. 20 shots in the first, 42 for the game and relentless pressure on the Pens D all night long.
- Penalty killing absolutely monumental in the victory. 3 of 4, including a late 4 minute kill of a John Tavares high sticking penalty.
- Giveaways – Isles forced 12 giveaways by the Pens, while committing only 2 themselves.
- John Tavares – showed up to play in only his 2nd playoff appearance. Threat all night long, assist and 6 shots in 19:50 ice-time.
- Jack Capuano – masterful shakeup of forward lines pays huge dividends.
- Evgeni Nabokov – the way the 37 year old veteran battled after an awful first period was impressive.
- Matt Martin – yes, I know he scored the game winning goal, but has to be better in the defensive zone. Giveaway led to first Pens goal.
- Michael Grabner – relatively ineffective in only 10:27 of ice time. Does not look like he is utilizing his blinding speed at all so far.
- Brad Boyes – have to do more with 18:15 on a line with Tavares. Only opportunity was glorious from low slot and he whiffed.
- Faceoffs – 23-36 has to improve for the Isles to continue their march through the playoffs. Big offensive and defensive zone losses.
- Mike Milbury questioning whether Rick Nash of the Rangers is an elite player just discredits him even more, if that is even possible. I really don’t understand how he still has an analyst job on a major sports network.
- Gruesome hit on Lars Eller of the Canadiens drew a two game suspension for Senators Eric Gryba. You decide…..
- Lastly, is there any doubt the beast that is Milan Lucic, when he is on his game? Holy smokes, what a hit…..from 2008 but still.