May 1, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman

Deryk Engelland

(5) and New York Islanders right wing

Kyle Okposo

(21) chase a bouncing puck during the third 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

With last night being a complete deer in headlights massacre at the Consol Energy Center, the Islanders regroup and should have whatever nervousness and jitters out of their system by tomorrow evening’s matchup. If they don’t, this series could be quite a short one.

  • John Tavares was granted totally ineffective last night by a defense missing its top talisman, Brooks Orpik. JTs first foray in playoff atmosphere  explains away most shortcomings, so some slack is cut for the face of the Islanders franchise. But, all truth be told, Tavares needs to be much better if the Isles are to have any chance at upsetting the top seeded Penguins. In 17:03 if ice time spread among 19 shifts, Tavares did not register a shot on goal.
  • Matt Martin was effective in delivering 10 hits but that was the only thing he provided last night. He looked extremely nervous handling the puck, and his giveaway in the first period directly led to Pascal Dupuis first of two markers on the evening.
  • Marty Reasoner was not the reason the Isles lost. Let’s just get that argument out of the way early. But it was curious that he bought into the lineup based solely on his 23 games of playoff experience. Primarily a faceoff specialist, Marty was only 6-6 on the night and received a game misconduct late for intent to injure when he went to check Jussi Jokinen and clipped his skate. That’s right, he clipped his skate and not his knee for all those Pens fans yelling about a dirty hit.
  • I still would not bring Matt Carkner back into the lineup. As we saw last night when Mark Streit was absolutely caught flat-footed on a line change and used by Brandon Sutter as a traffic cone, this defense cannot afford to get much slower against the Pens forwards.
  • Brian Strait did not have a good night either, as his penalty early in the first period, and yes it was a penalty, led to all the momentum the Pens would need on this night. Matt Cooke is a player I absolutely loathe along with many other fans, but he did his job, taking out Thomas Hickey with a clean hit than swan diving to draw the call on Strait.
  • And what can you say about Kevin Poulin? Projected to be the goaltender of the future for New York, he came in and except for one bad goal allowed to Tanner Glass, was extremely effective in his first playoff game ever. Kudos to the rookie for hanging in there and not making a bad situation even worse on the scoreboard.
  • My last thought concern the Penguins themselves: Ask yourself this question: if you take your best player (and arguably the best in the game), your top defensive defenseman and one of your best penalty killers out of the lineup, what would you expect from your favorite team? Exactly, not much. The Penguins are so incredibly deep that those suspected impactful subtractions did not even matter at the end of the day.
  • Speaking of which, Sidney Crosby skated on a line today with Dupius and Chris Kunitz at practice but did tell reporters after the session that he still has NOT been cleared to play. James Neal was absent after taking a clean hit from Travis Hamonic early in the second period and appeared to injure his knee. Paul Martin also did not skate today.
  • For the Islanders, coach Jack Capuano said he would reassess today and decide on any lineup changes. It goes without saying that Jesse Joensuu, Radek Martinek and David Ullstrom are all possibilities to be inserted tomorrow night.

Finally, answer our hot topic question of the day below and let us know how you would handle the possibility of Ryan Strome entering the picture SHOULD the Islanders go down 0-2 in the series.

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