Image Credit: NY Islanders

Image Credit: NY Islanders

The New York Islanders did not play badly.

In the first game of their Eastern Conference semi-final against the number one team in the east, Pittsburgh, the Isles learned a valuable lesson. Its ok to play well but to win playoff hockey games, especially on the road against an elite team means that you have to raise your level. The Islanders did not.

The Penguins were without the services of their best player, Sidney Crosby. But it didn’t seem to matter as the Isles were not able to meet the intensity as they had through their excellent season run to the playoffs.

In the opening period, the power play opened the door early as Evgeni Malkin picked up the puck along the right boards and short flipped it forward to Beau Bennett who raced around MacDonald to wrist shot it over the head of a kneeling Nabokov into the upper left post and into the goal.

A drive to goal saw Craig Adams try three times to poke it in but Nabokov thwarted each attempt. However the rebound went long where Jarome Iginla cradled it in front of falling players and took a slap shot that was saved, but Pascal Dupuis picked it out in front and slotted it in to make it 2-0 Penguins.

In the second period the power play was worked to perfection as Malkin passed the puck across to the point to Ignila who tried to one time it on the fly but missed the net, but as it wrapped around the boards and two passes got the puck to Kris Letang on the left circle alone and he moved one step before snapping it past Poulin, who replaced Nabokov, and the Isles were down three.

Then Jussi Jokinen retrieved the puck after a won faceoff on the left circle and his pass deflected off the boards to Mark Eaton in the left corner of the Islander zone. Eaton one timed his pass to Pascual Dupais in front of goal and he backhanded it under Poulin for his second tally to make it 4-0.

Jussi Jokinen did some heavy work on the left circle fighting off two Islander defenders to lay it behind him to Tanner Glass who picked it up and  snapped it to beat Poulin to the right on a tight angle. The 5-0 demolition was an impressive start but the Islanders have to increase their intensity to have a chance in this series.

In other action the San Jose Sharks scored two third period goals to win 3-1 over the Vancouver Canucks scoring the first road win of any playoff team and with it a 1-0 series lead. The Boston Bruins also went up 1-0 in their series against the Toronto Maple Leafs as they routed them 4-1.

About Luis Vásquez

A ten year veteran in the field of freelance writing and editing. Among the publications he has written for is Defining TrendsMagazine, and NYC Sporting News. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for Ultimate Athlete Magazine.

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