Thursday, May 9, 2013
Penguins ECQF Game 5 Recap - Penguins 4, Islanders 0
-Just a complete 180 from the way the Penguins have been playing the in a majority of the series. This game instead of turning the puck over and hanging their goaltender out to dry the Penguins decided to play some defense and shut down the Islanders. This was the Penguins second shutout of the series and each goaltender has one. Not too bad.
-The story of the game going in was obviously Tomas Vokoun as he was getting the start in place of Marc-Andre Fleury who was pretty brutal in a game four loss. Vokoun came and shut down the Islanders. He didn't look good early as it seemed as if he was fighting the puck for much of the first period but he got the job done and that is what he did. I know it is going to be a hot button topic on who should get the start in game six and while I didn't agree with the idea of Vokoun starting today I think it is pretty much a no brainer that he starts game six.
-While Vokoun was good I am not sure if it would have been much different if MAF was in the cage the way the defense played in front of him. They gave up a few too many shots in the first period after the Islanders got settled in but after that the Penguins defense was as good as it has been all series. They were stepping up and making plays in the neutral zone and they weren't turning the puck over like they were in the previous games. It was really nice to see them step up in front of their goaltender and clear the puck and make life a little easier for him. Good on them for stepping up.
-Sidney Crosby didn't have a very good first period, at all. The second and third period he was outstanding. I mean check out this goal he scored to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead:
That is just filthy. Make sure you watch the backhand pass he gave Kris Letang on the Penguins fourth goal. Not many players can do that. Just unreal what he can do on the ice.
-Tyler Kennedy played his first game in the series tonight and he was probably one of the best skaters on the ice. Before the series I talked/tweeted quite a bit about how effective Kennedy could be in the fourth line role and that is exactly what he was tonight. Wildly effective. He has great energy and while people always give him crap about shooting too much and missing the net you need to have a guy who just throws pucks on the net on the fourth line. He opened up the scoring in the second period when the Penguins needed to get a goal and he got the ball rolling.
-Come to think of it the fourth line as a whole was just outstanding tonight. Joe Vitale also made his 2013 playoff debut and he was just as good as Kennedy in his role. He came in to give the bottom line some jump and was a huge part of that line dominating the Islanders all game long. It was really great to see.
-Matt Cooke's name isn't going to show up scoresheet but he had a really outstanding game. He hasn't shown up on the scoresheet as much as he did a year ago but he, along with the rest of the third line, shut down the Islanders top line and he was probably the most physical guy on the ice for a vast majority of the game.
-One thing that kind of bothered me about the Penguins tonight was how much space and room they were giving John Tavares. The Pens are pretty lucky that Tavares didn't beat them and that the game was mostly out of reach for much of the latter portion of it but he had his chances and if you keep giving him space he is going to make you pay and you don't want that to swing the momentum. It was obviously a really good game for the defense and for the Penguins as a whole but while they got away with it tonight they won't be so lucky all the time.
-Really outstanding atmosphere at CEC tonight. I wasn't sure what it was going to be like but the fans in the arena were amped up from the start and didn't let their foot up off the gas pedal. Really awesome when the announcers couldn't even hear each other. -Douglas Murray goes from not scoring a goal in 146 games to scoring two goals in one playoff series. He has been so good and the offense is just a plus.
-The Penguins won 37-of-58 faceoffs tonight. I will take that.
-With Ottawa dispatching of Montreal tonight that means that Saturday's game six on Long Island will start at 7 p.m.