The good news is that’s behind them as backup Tomas Vokoun started Game 5 and slammed the door shut. The Isles have been scrappy in this series but they face a tall order to survive in Game 6.
The Pittsburgh Penguins can win because…
They’ve really dominated this series. People making their NHL picks know that the Pens probably would have put the Isles to be by now had they had a reasonable goaltender. Their offense has been just fine as the Pens have tallied 21 goals in five games. However, the Islanders have stayed in it because Fleury has been giving up a ton of goofy goals.
Fleury’s goals have a ripple effect through the team. Not only do they hurt on the scoreboard but the team starts to lose confidence when he’s struggling. Vokoun came in for Game 5 and while he wasn’t spectacular, he made the saves the team expected him to make. That gave the team a boost of confidence to start playing like the All-Star roster they are. Expect that to carry over into Game 6. As long as the Pens goaltender is halfway decent, they should roll.
The New York Islanders can win because…
Urgency is on their side. The Isles have played well in this series when their backs have been against the wall and they could be a good investment on the NHL odds once again given their situation again.
The Isles were shutout 5-0 in Game 1 but responded with a win in Game 2. Then they dropped Game 3 but responded to avoid a 3-1 series hole in Game 4. Now they face a similar predicament but they’re already used to it.
Vokoun kind of threw a wrench in their plans but now they’ve had some time to adjust. Look for them to target his weaknesses a little bit more now that they have had time to prepare.
Outlook & Pic
The Isles have done their job. They’ve impressed us, been scrappy and put a real scare into the Penguins. If they can find a long-term solution in net, this team will do a lot more than just threaten in the coming years.
As for this particular matchup on Saturday, take the Pens. They’ll tuck the Isles in and put this series to bed.
Free NHL Pick: Pens -165