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Insider Only Penguins – Islanders Series Buzz: Is it Still ‘Advantage’ Pittsburgh in Best-of-3?

Penguins – Islanders Series Buzz

As the series shifts back to Pittsburgh tonight and is now a best-of-3, are the Pittsburgh still a slight favorite by default due to having home-ice?

Home-ice is rarely a significant advantage in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the Penguins at home this season are just a different type of hockey club. There’s no denying that.

They have an ability to storm out of the gates that also played out in games 1 and 2 of the series, and they’ve just been more of a 60 minute type hockey club at home compared to the road.

Trying to predict what plays out the rest of the way, the Penguins have that going for them.

Other than that, the Islanders should feel good about where things are trending their way.

Over the last four periods of play, the Islanders have outscored the Penguins 7-3 and even the likes of Sidney Crosby have admitted the Islanders have been the better team at dictating the terms of late.

The disappointing part of the Game 4 loss wasn’t that the Islanders evened up the series, it was how the Penguins lost the game.

Sometimes there are signs of a carry over from game to game in the postseason, especially as a series progresses from Game 3 and on.

Around the league, you saw a lot of carryover from the Game 3 winner to the Game 4 winner but not with the Penguins.

Pittsburgh’s Game 3 win was a thrilling resilient win and the pressure was on the Islanders for Game 4. The Islanders came out blazing in Game 4 and were ‘shooting their shot’ in period, one but came out empty on the scoreboard. The Penguins survived the initial Islanders wave where the game was on the platter for Pittsburgh after that Islanders early big push but there was just no killer instinct from the Penguins. Pittsburgh imploded, and went away from everything that helped turn them into the contender they surprisingly re-emerged back into this season.

The Islanders are all-in on how they want to play the Penguins. Try to punish the Penguins best players below the dots, get under their skin after the whistle and this series now hinges on whether the Islanders have cracked the Penguins a bit or not.

Does the return to home ice see the Penguins tighten things back up and attack the Islanders with layers of a fast-skilled-disciplined game or have the Islanders actually taken control of the series in dictating the terms?

The Penguins came into the series as the favorite and the pressure has turned back onto them for Game 5


MORE BUZZ

— Mike Sullivan today called Tristan Jarry’s play in the series “great”. Jarry who ranks 17th out of all goaltenders in ‘expected saves’, has been anything but great. Coming off a bad loss and back at home, Expect a fast-paced start for the Penguins but can they get to Ilya Sorokin early? Could tell where Game 5 goes……


— Not earth shattering, but Marcus Pettersson and Jason Zucker have been among the lowest graded players this series in the Penguins in Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" Another player near the bottom of the Penguins internal tracking, defenseman J Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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