The New York Islanders are going to the second round of the playoffs for the third straight year. And for the second time, the Islanders eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins on their way. This time it was harder because of a good Penguins side.
The Islanders dropped two games when their Vezina caliber goalie wasn’t so…Vezina caliber and the Penguins offense and no-quit attitude pushed this to six games.
But at the end of the day, the Isles won four games before the Penguins did, and that’s what is needed to move onto the next round. The Islanders earned the privilege to continue their quest for a Stanley Cup. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
New York Islanders earned the right to move to the second round
And there are certainly some who want you to know that what the Islanders did in the first round was either (1) not that impressive, (2) because the Penguins lost the series (not that the Isles won), and (3) that the Isles are frauds that will be found out by the Bruins.
First: Not that impressive
Yes, it’s a ridiculous argument. Because you can make any argument you want when you start playing revisionist history. Take away seven of the Penguins goals and the Islanders sweep the series. See how that works?
Did Jarry play poorly? Yeah, he sure did but the blue and orange still needed to execute and score those goals.
The main criticism facing the Islanders in this series was “could they score enough goals”. The Isles scored 3.5 goals per game in this series. That’s way up from the 2.71 goals per game they scored in the regular season.
Again, did Jarry help the Isles out there? Sure, but the Islanders still need to execute. Just because the goalie in net isn’t any good doesn’t mean the Isles will score against him. Remember, how career-ECHL goalie Michael Houser played against the Isles at the end of the season? In two games against the Isles, he stopped 79 shots for a 0.941SV% and two wins. Again, just because a goalie is bad doesn’t mean the Isles will win.
Second: The Penguins lost the series (not that the Isles won)
Again, yes Jarry played poorly. But the Islanders still needed to put themselves in a position to score. (Except for that double-overtime goal that one was 100% on Jarry.)
The Penguins didn’t advance because they didn’t score enough goals. The Islanders scored enough goals because (I’m repeating myself here) they put themselves in good positions to score. Yes, the Penguins played well in the series, but certainly not well enough.
The notion advanced by Matheson is one you see frequently from Penguins fans who feel their team was better and thus should still be playing. Not only does it devalue what the Islanders did on the ice it totally devalues one of the more important positions in the game; the goalie.
Goaltending didn’t help the Penguins win the series but it certainly helped the Islanders. And that’s the entire point of having a goalie out there. You can skate circles around the five skaters on the ice but you still have to beat the guy between the pipes to win.
The Penguins didn’t and the Islanders did. it sounds ridiculous to say, but the Islanders won this series.
Third: The Isles are frauds
Aside from losing in five to getting swept all in the same tweet this kind of mimics the second tweet in a way. The Penguins lost this series and because of that the Islanders, who don’t belong in the second round, will be found out by the Bruins and get stomped.
Look, Boston scares me and a number of Islanders fans. They have a ton of talent, they have Tuukka Rask in net, and they hold a 3-0-0 record against the Isles since the trade deadline. But the Isles have a 5-0-0 record against the Bruins before the traded deadline.
The Islanders know how to beat the Bruins. The idea of “if the Islanders play as they did against the Penguins they’ll lose” is a ridiculous one. Mainly for the fact that the Bruins aren’t the Penguins. Barry Trotz will approach this series differently. There will be lessons learned from the Penguins series that will be applied here.
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The Isles earned the right to move onto the second round and face the Boston Bruins. Don’t anyone tell you otherwise.