The New York Islanders are up 3-0 in their first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. What can we take away from game number three?
With a game three win in Pittsburgh, the New York Islanders are inches away from only their second playoff series win in 26 years as they lead the Penguins 3-0.
Only four teams have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series to win the round. The Islanders did it against the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 1975.
Jordan Eberle continues to put up points with his third goal of the series. Robin Lehner continues to build his wall brick-by-brick. And the Islanders are getting scoring from across the lineup with goals from Nelson and Komarov.
The Islanders have been dominant over the Penguins in all three games. They work as a team, don't get frustrated, and stick to the plan. And it's working.
They've now outscored the Penguins 11-5 across all three games and have left the Pens scratching their heads thinking: "Nothing is working".
As the Islanders worked their way to a 4-1 win three things were clear in the game:
- The Coliseum is one of a kind
- Devon Toews keeps getting better
- Anthony Beauvillier is waking up
Coliseum Crowd is One of a Kind
As Islanders fans, we all know the impact that the Coliseum crowd has on the Islanders. It's one of the smaller venues in the NHL, but what it lacks in size it makes up in a number of ways.
The small venue is tightly packed making it seem like fans are quite literally right on top of you. With a low flat ceiling, it amplifies the sounds of the 13,917 fans to make them sound louder than a group of F14's taking off.
As the series shifts to Pittsburgh with the Islanders up 2-0, you'd think the Penguins crowd would do their best to counter the Islanders crowd.
That wasn't the case.
The crowd had its moments sure. Such as when the Pittsburgh Penguins Garrett Wilson opened the scoring. Or when the PA starts pumping high-octane music to get the crowd into the game.
The crowd at the Coliseum crowd doesn't need that type of prompting to get going. The trademark "Lets Go Islanders" chant is heard throughout the game most of the time for no reason other than to make some noise.
And if it isn't a "Lets Go Islanders" chant, it could be any other number of chants. A reminder that the Rangers suck (even if they aren't playing), a song specifically aimed at Josh Bailey, or chanting "Lehner". The Islanders crowd just doesn't stay quiet.
The Pittsburgh Penguins crowd could learn a thing or two from the Islanders.
Devon Toews Still Getting Better
(OK, yes that button was an exaggeration. But every day I'm impressed on just how good Devon Toews is. I have no idea just how good he can actually be.)
It's Devon Toews' first NHL season. It's hard to picture that. The 25-year-old defenseman out of Quinnipiac University has been an integral part of the New York Islanders lineup almost the entire season.
He plays important minutes against tough competition and quarterbacks the Islanders first power play unit. Again, this is his rookie season in the NHL.
Devon Toews is invaluable to the New York Islanders defense. He isn't just great at generating offense from the back end, but he's also incredible defensively.
Just watch how he covers Sidney Crosby on this defensive zone shift. He never gives Crosby a second to breathe or set himself.
Watch how Crosby tumbles to the ice at the end, that typically ends with the defender taking a holding call. But the way that Toews is defending Crosby it's clear 87 drops like a bag of hammers all on his own.
Every single day that passes Deon Toews is getting better. We keep wondering where the ceiling is with this kid and every time he hits the ice he pushes that ceiling a little bit higher.
Devon Toews might be a rookie, but he doesn't play like one. Remember, he's locked into a $700,000 contract until the end of next season. Absolutely incredible cap management by Lou Lamoriello.
Anthony Beauvillier Is Waking Up
The 2018-19 season was of personal disappointment for Anthony Beauvillier. His 28 points in 81 games weren't what anyone was expecting from the former first-round pick in 2015.
Beau started the season playing alongside long-time friend Mathew Barzal. After the end of the 2017-18 season, that matchup made sense. But nothing came of it. Beau just couldn't find the back of the net.
So Head Coach Barry Trotz put Beauvillier with veterans Valtteri Filppula and Leo Komarov. And things looked good for a little. Beau scored eight points in his first eight games with his new linemates.
It didn't last for Beauvillier. But as the playoffs approached there wasn't anywhere else for Barry Trotz to put Beauvillier then beside Filppula and Komarov.
Three games into the first-round series and Beau already has two points to his name. He scored a goal in game two, and then picked up a primary assist on Leo Komarov's. Just look at that soft touch to get the puck into Komarov's path.
The Islanders desperately needed some depth offense going into the playoffs and Anthony Beauvillier is giving them that depth. Long may it last.