When a team gets defecated on in a Game One, they're gonna bring the house in Game Two. And that is exactly what the Isles did. After being down 2-0 and 3-1, it was gut-check time. and they stole a game in Pittsburgh, all reminiscent of what the Pens did against Ottawa in 2006-2007 playoffs.
We've seen the Pens dominate one game and then turn around and play like dogshit. There was hope that the Pens would show a killer insinct and put the Isles up against it, but that didn't happen.
We could look back at this moment in time and laugh about being worried about this series. Or shit can get real here pretty fast. We said the other day
that if the Isles were gonna win a game, it was gonna be this one. If you've taken in a handful of Islanders games this season, you knew they were gonna fight back.
And now the series becomes a best-of-five, with home-ice advantage shifting to the Isles. The last time the Pens won a playoff game in Long Island was Game 3 in 1993.
Ideally, the Pens take both at Nassau and close it out in Game 5. We, especially now, don't want any part of a Game 6.
Insane number of people at the big screen.
More pics via Kiss.
The first period was strange. The Pens left it with a 3-1 lead, but it didn't seem just. The Islanders peppered the Pens with 20 shots and slowly but surely chipping away.
It all started nice, though. Everyone was jammed up with Crosby returning, and the Pens fed off of it. Malkin chipped one past Nabokov 45 seconds in. 1-0.
The Isles couldn't get their shit together and took a bad penalty. The Pens didn't waste any time. Malkin bombed one from the point, and it bounced out in front. Iginla had a nic,e little pass to Crosby, who tapped it in. 2-0.
It was feeling like Game One all over again.
But this was Game Two.
The Isles took the Pens' best punch in the mouth and started fighting back. All of a sudden, it seemed the Pens were icing the puck all the time, and the flow of the game got weird.
Then Deryk Engelland took the first of his two penalties.
The Isles finally scored on the ensuing power play. 2-1.
Crosby was like bwaaaa and answered it 18 seconds later to make it 3-1.
The Isles didn't like this puck-drop that led to the goal:
Engelland and Murray both went to the box later in the period. The Isles didn't score on either PP, but the penalties messed up the Pens.
End of the period got chippy. Travis Hamonic got into it with Matt Cooke. Still trying to figure out what Matt Cooke did to warrant a penalty on that.
Best players of the period
– Marc-Andre Fleury kept the Pens afloat in the first, stopping 19 of 20 shots.
– Travis Hamonic. Dude hit everything that moved. He was a dick and was getting the job done.
The second period had a terrible feel to it as soon as it began. Not sure if the Pens got caught up in Crosby's return or if they simply just lost their legs. Whatever it was, the Pens looked dead.
And the Isles were coming. Things got ramped up when Niskanen hit Matt Moulson coming over the middle.
Kyle Okposo jumped Niskanen and bloodied him up pretty good.
Still not quite sure why the Isles got so jammed up about this hit. Also not quite sure why Okposo didn't get an additional penalty.
About 14 seconds after that scrum, the Isles made it 3-2. Colin McDonald squeaked one past MAF.
Yikes play by Paul Martin.
It was all Isles all the time until Lubo Visnovsky went off for boarding Morrow. The power play couldn't get its feet under it. Brian Strait destroyed Crosby, and Iginla decided it was time to go after Strait. Gotta love the mentality, but the remainder of the Pens' PP was washed away.
That terrible feeling that had been palpable since the Niskanen fight finally came to light. Of course it was Matt Martin who tied it up. 3-3.
Brenden Morrow drew another penalty late in the second. The Pens were gifted a 4-minute power play. There were a couple close calls. An inch here or there on that PP, the outcome would've been different. Nope.
Stop us if you heard this before. The Penguins took some bad penalties and couldn't score on the powerplay. Crosby missed a wide open net late on the PP.
For the first time in this young series, we finally had a battle to watch. Of course there was all fireworks and bulbs popping for Game One and then with Crosby's return in this one, but a 3-3 tie in the third period of a playoff game can't be beat.
Both teams were getting looks, but Nabokov had pretty much decided the Pens weren't gonna get one past him.
With under 8 minutes to go, this happened:
The Isles immediately went into the shutdown mode. And the Pens just couldn't get the breakout working. Malkin with a couple tough turnovers coming through the neutral zone. Although it looked like more to do with a misscommunication between him and Iginla then just a lazy pass.
Hamonic has turned himself into the Darius Kasparaitis of this series for the Islanders. Late the in the third he was in Malkin's face and then he wrecked him:
You have to think if Hamonic can get away with these shots the Isles will have sucess. That is a great hit, but you can't tackle players afterwards. Hamonic vs Malkin is the match up to watch the rest of the series. After the play Hamonic followed Malkin up the ice taunting him as well.
As time ticked down the Pens couldn't get anything going. They pulled MAF, and got the puck into the Isles zone. But nothing doing.
— Bennett got buried for most of the game after the first. Probably by design but still wonder if he'll get some more icetime in Game 3.
— If Crosby and Malkin are going to combine for 18 shots we like the Pens chances in the series.
— Probably not gonna see Engo Sunday afternoon.
— Paul Martin had a tough game, bounce back city Sunday.
— Pics: USA Today, Getty