The crowd was insane. Didn't really expect anything less. Malkin looked in MVP form.
Pens came out hitting, also as expected. Cooke put a shoulder into Thomas Hickey, and everything seemed fine until Brian Strait decided to give him a shot coming off the bench on a line change. Stupid play. Matt Cooke is already in the Isles' head. All of this set of a chain events that started the romp.
Pens jumped on that PP, and it was the Iginla One-Timer Show. One of his shots hit Nabokov square in the mask and sent the birds flying around his head.
That is a bomb of a shot.
Have to wonder if the Isles should have taken him out because toward the end of the PP, Malkin lost control of a puck inside the blue line, but Bennett picked it up and cruised in down low on Nabokov. And he squeezed one in there.
1-0. Right past his head.
Good thing someone changed their minds:
Tonight's #Pens lines: Kunitz-Malkin-Neal, Dupuis-Jokinen-Iginla,Morrow-Sutter-Cooke, Glass-Adams-Kennedy
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 1, 2013
The Pens started icing the puck religiously after the goal, which was really puzzling. Coupled with the puck repeatedly leaving the ice surface, it was a disjointed first period for the most part.
Douglas Murray quickly inserted himself into the game. He found himself in the rare position of leading a Pens' rush across the blue line, and it was no surpise that play was offside. That didn't stop Matt Martin from trying to get a piece of him after the whistle. Too bad for Martin:
The Isles started pushing back. They started throwing some hits around and at least getting some possession in the Pens' zone, but the Pens quickly started taking all that away. Wherever Tavares was, Letang was nearby.
Any progress the Isles had made was halted when a ragtag unit of Dupuis-Adams-Iginla had the Isles and Nabokov running around like the Keystone Kops. Eventually Dupuis poked one into an open net. 2-0.
Don't sleep on the play Paul Martin made to get the puck out of the zone about 10 seconds before that.
Pens took their first penalty of the playoffs when Matt Cooke interfered with Moulson. The Isles didn't get anything going on that PP. Toward the end of the first, Streit held up Sutter for some reason, and the Pens would have a split PP heading into the second.
Murray and Matt Martin continued their season-long war.
Pens had a 5-on-3 to work with when Marty Reasoner went off. The 5-on-3 was officially over, but it was still a 5-on-3 when Letang had all day to size up Nabby. 3-0.
And that was the game. But too bad there were still 26 minutes left to play.
The Islanders recorded a shot on a goal somewhere in there, which was great for them.
Hallway pretty busy during intermissions.
A little perspective: The Pens went into this game having to shut down Tavares. He didn't record a shot on goal for the first time all season.
Pens' PK unit saw a lot of action and kept things on lockdown.
Brenden Morrow may have hit every Islander. He was locked in on Tavares, which brought Matt Martin out of the woodwork again and also led to Marty Reasoner trying to knee Jokinen.
– Beau Bennett, stay in the lineup, please.
– Jussi Jokinen is a points machine.
– Iginla looks like a world-beater.
– Pics: USA Today, Getty