RECAP: GAME SIX. Back in the New York Groove. PENS ADVANCE.

A lifetime ago, David Volek broke the hearts of Penguins fans. 20 years later, the name "Brooks Orpik" will now be haunting a sad 9-year-old Isles fan's life. Orpik's first career playoff goal at 7:49 of overtime clinched the series for the Pens, setting up a second-round clash with the Ottawa Senators.
The Pens were severely outplayed in this game, yet still found a way to win it. That's what the good teams do. Tomas Vokoun endured throughout and kept the Pens in the hunt long enough for another goal to get past Nabokov. That's what the big-time goalies do. And wow: the Pens got some pretty big goals from their defensemen in this one. Not to mention the Pens' PK killing off three penalties in the second period. Some heroic efforts in this one.
Overall, the Penguins organization excorised Islanders demons that have haunted them since 1975. The series is over, and the demons are gone.
There was a post on the Islander blog Lighthouse Hockey before the series: " I hate Pittsburgh." A quote from the piece:

Pittsburgh might be a tough city to hate. The U.S. steel industry is dying a slow death, and so is the city itself. But even that is little joy for me. It gets not even a little reprieve from my hatred. Pittsburgh has seemingly time and time again ruined whatever sport I was watching at the time. The little victory joys for me as a fan seem to be far too spread out.

We don't got much. But we got the second round. See ya, brah.



Good news and bad news about the first period. The good news was the Isles were uptight and didn't have the same jump they had in the first periods of Games 3 and 4. The bad news was they still got the first goal and just started waiting for mistakes.

It was bad when the Pens had to call a timeout after icing the puck on the first shift of the game.

The Isles' first goal came on an extended shift for the Pens. They just couldn't get it out of the zone. Everyone watched as Tavares found a sweet spot in the zone and had all day to snipe Vokoun. 1-0.

As they are wont to do, the Pens struck back relatively quickly. Crosby had a burst of speed and caused a ruckus. Iginla cleaned up the trash. 1-1.

Great subtle pass by Martin to spring Crosby.

The pace slowed after the Pens' goal. Isles were still being the more physical team.

Late in the first, Crosby made a sweet move coming from behind the net.

Puck went the other way, and Orpik we don't even know. McDonald all alone in front. 2-1.

Was gonna be a good road period if it wasn't for that final tally.



The Islanders still had loads of more spunk in the second. They were still maintaining ridiculous puck possession. Meanwhile, the Pens strategy in their own zone consisted of saying "fuck it" and throwing it off the boards, usually straight to an Islander.

The first Pens' penalty of the period came when Morrow decked Martinek from behind. That's against the rules. The Islanders had myriad chances on the PP, but they kept fanning on the puck or shooting it wide. Vokoun was still making saves, too. Pens caught break number one on that PK when Murray shoved Moulson onto Vokoun, but the referee whistled it dead probably because Moulson made no attempt to get off of Vokoun, combined with possibly losing sight of the puck. That wasn't a kill as much as it was a survival.

After that PK, something clicked, and the Pens woke up. That "something" was Joe Vitale and Tyler Kennedy putting the team on their backs. First it was TK making moves that eventually led to a Pens PP. Okay, we won't discuss that power play.

After the PP, Joe Vitale came streaking in and found Dupuis going to the net. A sweet redirect.


Pens were being outshot 21-7 before they jumped on that PP.

The Pens' push-back was thwarted when Cooke went off for the Pens' second penalty of the game. PK did a better job on that one. The Pens caught their second break of the period when Martin broke his stick over an Islander's stick with a slash and got away with it.

Everything was fine for like 4 seconds, and then the Pens took their final penalty of the second. This was a too-many-men call that Bylsma was jammed about:

The PK did it again. This time, it was all Vokoun. Orpik saved a sure goal.

Both teams exchanged golden chances late. Kunitz had the Pens' chance after a Crosby-Spezza 2.0, but Nabokov made his biggest save of the series. Isles answered that chance when Visnovsky had a great look at Vokoun with like 10 seconds left. Pens got yet another quick whistle on that play.


In recent Game 6 history, the Pens usually give up a goal early in the third period. It happened again.
Kris Letang, who played a solid game, made a brutal mistake. He looked for James Neal and air-mailed the pass.
Isles converted it like it was nothing. That whole sequence was strange. Kunitz had beaten out an icing on the other end, but no one was with him. The Isles turned it back up the ice and dumped it on goal. Vokoun played it when the D may have thought he was gonna hold it. Whatever the case, Grabner finally showed up. 3-2.

The Isles had the lead, and the Pens had to start taking chances. When they did that, the Isles turned it around several times. The Isles had three or four really good chances to make it a 4-2 game, including multiple 2-on-1s. But time and time again, Tomas Vokoun stood tall. It's easy to dismiss some of those saves in the celebration of the series win, but those saves were ridiculously huge.
The Isles talked about not feeling pressure in this series, but in guarding a 3-2 lead down the stretch with visions of Game 7 in their heads, they got jammed up. They stopped playing their game, and that was their downfall. With every shift, the Pens were gaining momentum, and the Isles were holding their sticks tighter and tighter.
With a little over 5 minutes left, Malkin entered the zone one-on-four. Instead of trying to go through them, he took a trip behind the net. And while the Isles stood around watching him, Paul Martin snuck into the zone. Malkin delivered the puck to him on a platter. The puck hit Frans Nielsen's stick on its way past Nabokov. 3-3.
Nobody's talking about Neal's jump on the play that got that puck through.
The most ironic thing about the puck hitting Frans Neilson's stick? He wasn't even going to play:
When asked after the skate how he felt, he told reporters that he felt good, but that it was up to the doctors and coaches whether or not he'll take the ice on Saturday night. So he is questionable for Game 6. The Islanders could certainly use him in the lineup to force a Game 7.
For all of the crap Malkin has been taking, we believe he is hurt or tired. His time playing in the KHL may be catching up to him. No excuse for sure, but the old saying rings true: Great players aren't always great; they're just great when they have to be. He rose to the challenge in the third period and OT. Late in the third, he even used his head to play a puck.
The Martin goal stunned the Islanders, who had gone from planning a trip to Pittsburgh to having a skate on their throats. There was a noticeable change in the Isles after that. They lost all their juice. They still generated some few chances, but Vokoun would have nothing of it.


Overtime was tighter than Santa's asshole on Christmas. Both teams traded chances. Some unrealistic bounce off the boards put the puck right in front of Vokoun and he said no.
The pace in OT was exhausting and glorious at the same time. Letang had a chance on a rush but just missed over the crossbar.
Then it was time for Brooks Orpik to etch himself into Penguins playoff lore.
The play all started with Orpik dumping the puck around the boards, and Malkin stopping the Isles from clearing. Malkin and Kennedy dished, with Kennedy throwing it up top to Orpik.
Oprik got all of it. 4-3.







via Shannon Dillon


— Underrated effect of Orpik's goal: it saved Mother's Day.
— Orpik's first goal since 2011. That was also against the Islanders.

— Series recap later.