May 7, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders celebrate scoring during the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins in game four of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Islanders won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Astoria, NY – It was the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge who coined the phrase “suspension of disbelief” with regards to an audience’s level of engagement with works of literature.
(I know, I know: literary terminology. It might be too early in the day for this kind of stuff, but bear with me. It’ll make sense, I promise.)
Coleridge noted that if a writer could infuse the human element in a completely engrossing story, his audience would likely suspend judgment on the story’s implausibility. This concept is often applied to theatrical productions – plays, musicals, etc. – in that the audience knows it’s watching a performance, but is willing to forget that the scenes on stage probably wouldn’t happen in the real world.
Seriously: read any of Shakespeare’s plays where two characters switch places and literally none of the other characters realize it. In situations like that, the audience suspends its collective disbelief regarding the scene, and allows for the possibility that the events on stage could actually happen.
If this concept sounds familiar, it might be because you were an English or drama major in school. Or, it might be because the rest of the NHL is finally coming to terms with the fact that the New York Islanders are for real.
In short: the league is collectively suspending disbelief about the Isles in their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Yes, the Islanders are the token scrappy 8th-seeded team that’s widely considered to have no shot at winning, and the Pens are the classic Eastern Conference juggernaut that was expected to steamroll the Isles in a series sweep.
And yet, the series is tied 2-2. Disbelief: suspended.
A gutty 6-4 victory by the Isles in last night’s Game 4 at home against the Penguins provided the Long Island-centric fan base with a reason to celebrate at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum once more. The atmosphere was electric and the action on the ice was as frenetic as one would expect in a playoff game.
Despite giving up two leads in the game – and trailing Pittsburgh in two separate instances – the Islanders never gave up, a hallmark of this year’s team.
Kyle Okposo had another monster game, skating, grinding and scoring like he’s been wont to do lately; Casey Cizikas was the team’s sparkplug again, even getting rewarded with the team’s sixth goal to secure the victory; and John Tavares arrived on the national stage by scoring the game-winning goal halfway through the third period.
This team is for real. Everyone who’s followed the Islanders throughout the year can see that. It’s about time that the rest of the league opened their eyes and saw what we’ve seen night-in and night-out from this group of players.
Even if the rest of the league is finding it hard to believe.
Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere
Not much else to say about this one – just let it soak in, Isles fans. The series is tied and the Coliseum will see at least one more NHL playoff game this year.
As you probably saw from last night’s Game 4 – whether you were in attendance at the Coli or watching the game on TV – there were quite a few of these signs in the crowd. You have to wonder if the Penguins players took notice; I know I did.
It seems like the Islanders players have made a name for themselves in the national broadcast media – here, TSN’s Bob McKenzie calls everyone’s attention to the Isles slogan. As a follow-up: #WhyNotUs?
Last Night In The NHL
Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators (OTT 3-1)
The Ottawa Senators rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period of Game 4 against the Montreal Canadiens last night, eventually winning in overtime on Kyle Turris’s goal at 2:32 of the extra period.
Turris also notched an assist in the game to pace the Senators’ offense.
In a strange sequence of events, Canadiens starting goaltender Carey Price was injured late in the third period and was forced to leave the game; backup Peter Budaj started the overtime frame and promptly gave up the game-winning goal.
After the SOMEBODY HIT SOMEBODY–style fisticuffs that marred the end of Game 3 in this series, it was good to see both teams get back to playing hockey in what was a thrilling game from start to finish.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild (CHI 3-1)
Corey Crawford bounced back from allowing an overtime winner in Game 3 by recording his second career playoff shutout in Game 4, and the Chicago Blackhawks took a 3-1 series lead over the Minnesota Wild.
Crawford stopped 25 Wild shots in the victory.
Patrick Sharp netted two goals for the Blackhawks, the second of which came via the first shot on Minnesota backup goaltender Darcy Kuemper; Kuemper was pressed into service after starter Josh Harding left the game after the first period with an injury.
The Wild have a tough task ahead of them if they’re to advance to the second round, as the series returns to Chicago Thursday.
Vancouver Canucks vs. San Jose Sharks (SJS 4-0)
The San Jose Sharks swept the no. 3-seeded Vancouver Canucks out of the playoffs last night, winning Game 4 in overtime 3-2.
The Canucks held a one-goal lead midway through the third period, but couldn’t close the door on the Sharks, as Joe Pavelski scored a power-play goal at 15:33 of the period to tie the game and force overtime.
The goal was Pavelski’s second of the game.
Vancouver again bowed out of the playoffs in disappointing fashion after finishing the regular season atop the Pacific Division; the loss last night was their 10th in their last 11 playoff games.
While serious questions arise for the future of the Canucks, the Sharks are the first team to advance to the second round of the 2013 NHL playoffs and will await their opponent while the rest of the series in the Western Conference play out.
Penguins vs. Islanders game highlights…
Canadiens vs. Senators game highlights…
Blackhawks vs. Wild game highlights…
Canucks vs. Sharks game highlights…
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