It took four games, but the Islanders finally got under the skin of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Through the first three games of the series, the Isles were trying to outhit and survive. It worked in Game 1, but in Game 2 and 3 they were unable to play a full 60 minutes.
Yesterday, was a perfect game plan for the New York Islanders and it worked just 4:07 into the game. Cal Clutterbuck laid a big hit on Evgeni Malkin along the boards and Malkin took exception.
He went after Cal and both ended up going off for roughing. Now, while Clutter is a solid penalty killer and fairly good fourth liner, the Islanders would gladly take him being put in the penalty box for two minutes if he also takes a future hall of famer with him.
For the rest of the afternoon, Malkin was rattled. He ended up taking three penalties in the game, just because Clutterbuck was able to get under his skin.
Heck, the same thing could be said for Kris Letang. How many bone-headed mistakes did he make yesterday? First, he pushed Anthony Beauvillier into Tristan Jarry which helped Josh Bailey score the first goal of the game.
It didn’t stop there. In the third period, he took a bad interference penalty against Adam Pelech which helped spark the Isles two power play goals just minutes later.
The Islanders won yesterday because they made Pittsburgh make mistakes. That’s when the Islanders are at their best. They make you make beat yourselves and they capitalize on them.
So far, while the series is tied up at 2-2, it’s been the Isles who have been able to find the back of the net. They have four goals in three of the four games so far.
Normally, when they score more than three goals they win, but due to defensive lapses and shotty goalie play they weren’t able to seal the deal in Game 3. For Game 5, it should be more of Ilya Sorokin in net, and more of Leo Komarov and Cal Clutterbuck getting to Pittsburgh’s key players.
It’s a best of three, the Isles have some work to do if they want to keep their season alive.