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

Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Islanders
Penguins Lead Series 3-2

ROOT, NBCSN, MSG Plus, TSN, RDS – 7:00 pm/et

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum – Uniondale, NY

Tonight there are two radically different outcomes available: 1) The New York Islanders start cleaning out their lockers and planning their summer vacations, or 2) The Pittsburgh Penguins return home to play a game seven that hardly anyone thought would happen.

Which outcome will it be?

The Penguins can dominate the Islanders. They did so in game one and again in game five. But after they rolled over the Islanders in game one, they fell apart in game two and gave the Islanders life. Will the same thing happen tonight? The Islanders have nothing to lose and everything to gain. They have no margin for error and they'll come out with everything they have, because they have to. They'll give everything they have tonight because, if they don't, they'll have no tomorrow. The Penguins will have to match their level of desperation. They'll have to look at this as an elimination game as well. Can they ignore the buffer of a 3-2 series lead and end it tonight or will this series go the distance?

Game Five: Penguins won 4-0.

What we said in our recap:

On June 4th, 2012, the Penguins traded for and then signed Tomas Vokoun. It was their first roster move since getting beaten by the Flyers in the playoffs.

And here he was, 11 months later, standing between the pipes for the biggest game of the season. In front of him was a team searching for confidence. Behind him was a fanbase eating itself in panic and anxiety. And he answered with a shutout, with the Pens now heading to the Isle on Saturday night to close this bitch out.

Know Your Enemy: Lighthouse Hockey

What they're saying:

We're nearing the 20th anniversary of David Volek and all that, but we've been over that history so much (and it was a Game 7, whereas tonight is a Game 6), that another bit of history may be more appropriate: As a franchise, the last four times the Islanders have returned to the Coliseum needing a win in Game 6 to stay alive, they've gotten it done each time.

Of course Volek's winner couldn't have happened if the Islanders hadn't won Game 6 at home first. (Of note: After Game 5 that year, Kevin Stevens pledged, "We're not going to come back here for Game 7." Oops.)

And the last time the Islanders won more than one game in a playoff series, in 2002, it necessitated a victory on Coliseum ice in Game 6.

Pittsburgh Penguins News:

 Douglas Murray is a big deal.

 Tomas Vokoun will be the difference.

New York Islanders News:

John Tavares is pretty good.

Can Frans Nielsen play tonight?

Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:

Pascal Dupuis – Sidney Crosby – Jarome Iginla
Chris Kunitz – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Brenden Morrow – Brandon Sutter – Matt Cooke
Craig Adams – Joe Vitale – Tyler Kennedy

Kris Letang – Simon Despres
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Douglas Murray – Matt Niskanen

Tomas Vokoun

New York Islanders Lines:

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

Evgeni Nabokov

Do It.

Go Pens.