Playoff Gameday: Pittsburgh Penguins & New York Islanders – Round One, Game One

New York Islanders @ Pittsburgh Penguins
Series Tied 0-0

ROOT, NBCSN, MSG Plus, TSN, RDS2 – 7:30 pm/et

Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA

April 22, 2012. That's the last time the Pittsburgh Penguins suited up for a playoff game. They walked into Philadelphia with their backs against the wall and they proceeded to be slammed face-first into that wall. Repeatedly. It was another Penguins' playoffs that ended on the disappointed side of a handshake line.

That was 374 days ago.

The last NHL playoff game played at the Consol Energy Center took place two days earlier. 376 days ago. 

The NHL lockout officially began at midnight on September 16, 2012. It was 227 days ago. The first regular season games were cancelled 209 days ago, on October 4, 2012. On November 2, the NHL cancelled the Winter Classic. On the 23rd, the NHL cancelled all games through December 14 and the NHL All-Star Game. Then, finally, on January 6, 2013, a tentative deal was reached.

It's been a long time. It's been a tough time. But here we are. Back in the playoffs.

The last time the Penguins played a playoff game in Pittsburgh, we remembered the Igloo. In that gameday post, we said that it was time to make some Consol memories. It was time to build the legacy of the Penguins' current arena. That happened.

Now tonight it's time to remember the Consol of game five.

Last meeting that counted: March 30, 2013. Penguins won 2-0.

What we said in our recap:

A lot of things happened on Saturday.

We got news of Paul Martin being out for 6 weeks.
Jarome Iginla announced he would play.
Sidney Crosby's teeth got destroyed by a slapshot and went to the hospital.
Chris Kunitz got kicked out and will be facing a suspension.

But of all those things, the top moment was Matt Cooke scoring the game-winning goal early in the third period after playing a huge part in killing off the 5-on-3 and Kunitz' 5-minute major. One of Matt Cooke's finest moments. But he wasn't the only hero.

Know Your Enemy: Lighthouse Hockey

What they're saying:

A fun underlying dynamic to this seemingly lopsided first-round draw is that many in the advanced stats crowd see the Penguins as vulnerable, or at least not nearly as good as their record indicates.

Some people give the Pens way too much respect though.

Meanwhile, though you might feel media are against the Isles (note: the 8th seed rarely gets respect), a lot of them are actually pulling for the Isles while thinking they don't have much of a chance.

Pittsburgh Penguins News:

Sidney Crosby will miss game one.

So will Brooks Orpik.

Evgeni Malkin is excited for the playoffs.

New York Islanders News:

The Islanders are focused on special teams.

Marty Reasoner could play.

Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:

Chris Kunitz – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Jarome Iginla – Jussi Jokinen – Pascal Dupuis
Brenden Morrow – Brandon Sutter – Matt Cooke
Tanner Glass – Craig Adams – Beau Bennett

Mark Eaton – Kris Letang
Paul Martin – Deryk Engelland
Dougla Murray – Matt Niskanen

Marc-Andre Fleury

New York Islanders Lines:

Matt Moulson – John Tavares – Brad Boyes
Josh Bailey – Frans Nielsen – Kyle Okposo
Michael Grabner – Keith Aucoin – Colin McDonald
Marty Reasoner – Casey Cizikas – Matt Martin
Mark Streit – Brian Strait
Travis Hamonic – Andrew MacDonald
Thomas Hickey – Lubomir Visnovsky

Evgeni Nabokov

Do It.

Go Pens.