The New York Islanders shocked the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday with a 4-3 win in Pittsburgh. Well, it’s not so shocking if you watched SBR Forum’s series preview with Peter Loshak, but that’s a story for another day.
The Pens took an early 3-1 lead in the first period and it looked like it would be a route. However, momentum turned and the young Islanders scored a very impressive road win.
Can the Pens bounce back or is this shades of the 2012 playoffs where the Pens got into a bad habit of blowing leads?
The Pittsburgh Penguins can win because…
The Isles had a lot of luck on their side in Game 2. Two of the Isles four goals were scored thanks to weird bounces off the boards and that’s very unlikely to happen again.
Pittsburgh simply took their foot off the gas in Game 2. They didn’t have Sidney Crosby in Game 1 and having him on Friday actually turned out to be a bit of a detriment. When their star was out, everyone else picked up their game. When their star came back, everyone was looking for him to be the catalyst as soon as the team faced adversity.
We’ll get a team-wide effort from the Pens on Sunday and they’ll take care of business here for our NHL Picks.
The New York Islanders can win because…
They are confident. The Isles entered Game 2 of this series on the brink. They were blown out in game one and people making their NHL picks figured this series was over when the Pens went up 3-1 very early in Game 2. However, the Isles kept fighting, outplayed the Penguins and were rewarded with a 4-3 win.
The Isles now know what Philadelphia did last season: Fleury can be beaten. They tested him with 38 shots on Friday and came away with four goals. Rest assured they’ll be firing from all angles in Game 3 to see how many “lucky bounces” they can get.
Few people believe in the Islanders but this is now a team that was on an 11-2-4 run heading into the playoffs. They’ve been playing playoff hockey for more than a month now, so Sunday’s affair won’t be anything new.
Outlook & Pick
The Isles are not a great home team and Pittsburgh was fantastic on the road this year, so Penguins plays will be justified. As I mentioned before, the Isles will put a scare into the Pens but they won’t be winning this series. The Isles had some lucky bounces in Game 2 but the Pens will make sure to limit their opportunities in Game 3. Take the Pens on the NHL odds.
Pick: Penguins at Bet 365