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Islanders actually played well in Game 2 loss to Penguins

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 18: Scott Mayfield #24 of the New York Islanders smiles as the New York Islanders fight the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 18: Scott Mayfield #24 of the New York Islanders smiles as the New York Islanders fight the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
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In Game 2 the New York Islanders came up short with a 2-1 loss after a few quick goals for the Penguins in the opening period. Going home to the Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders and Penguins series is tied at 1-1 now.

Losing stinks, specifically in the playoffs. But I’m telling you, the Islanders played a relatively good game tonight. I’m not going to say they deserved to win, but Barry Trotz will be happy with the way his team played and so should you.

New York Islanders loss in Game 2 isn’t that bad

Look I know that first goal against was terrible. Did it go off Pelech’s stick? Did Varlamov absolutely flub the puck? Both can and might be true. Either way, it was a terrible-looking goal to go in. But from there the Isles played a good enough game.

Outside of the third period, the Isles lead the xGF count and the high-danger counts. Both stats are key to the Islanders system.

Defensively, the Islanders gave up a ton of shots against (45) but the Penguins weren’t able to generate much that was dangerous. Only one of the goals they scored (the Jeff Carter winner) came from a dangerous place on the ice.

Semyon Varlamov – outside of that flub in the first – was excellent the rest of the way stopping 43 of 45 shots for a 0.956SV%.

And look, let’s remember something. It’s very difficult to take two away wins to start a playoff series. That’s why getting that first win was so important for the New York Islanders. The Isles leave Pittsburgh with a split and that’s massive for them.

The Islanders will have to bottle the effort they had tonight and make some small adjustments to it on Thursday. Maybe don’t fall asleep to start the game. The Penguins had a heavy push to open the game and were rewarded with that lucky goal. If the bleu and orange were alert and ready that chance doesn’t materialize.

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