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New York Islanders Five Most Important Players for 2019 Playoffs

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 30: The New York Islanders celebrate a 5-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on March 30, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. With the win, the Islanders qualify for the league playoffs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 30: The New York Islanders celebrate a 5-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on March 30, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. With the win, the Islanders qualify for the league playoffs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – JANUARY 20: Robin Lehner #40 of the New York Islanders pauses during the third period against the Anaheim Ducks at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on January 20, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Ducks 3-0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Robin Lehner

I could have used either of the Islanders goalies here. Both Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss have been absolutely phenomenal this season. Both have allowed fewer than 2.5 goals against per game and hold save percentages above 0.920.

Barry Trotz has kept his cards close to his chest in terms of who will start in goal for the Islanders. But at practice this morning Lehner was off the ice first. Indicating that he will be the likely starter in game one against Pittsburgh.

The Islanders have relied heavily on whoever is in nets. And the playoffs won’t be an exception. Lehner has had an outstanding season and is being rewarded by getting the starter job in the playoffs. Keeping that up against a strong Pittsburgh forward group will be tough.

All of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel are point-per-game players over their careers in the playoffs. There’s no doubt that those three will create opportunities. They will find gaps in the Islanders defense and they will test Lehner. The Islanders are going to rely on him to rise to the occasion and stop the majority of those chances.

The Penguins will also get opportunities to put out a fifth-ranked power play consisting of Crosby, Malkin, Hornqvist, Kessel, and Letang against the Islanders. The Isles will hope to counter that with a Lehner and his fifth ranks 0.867 HDSV% on the penalty kill. If he does, that’s one huge advantage gone for the Penguins.

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