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The Puck Stops Here

How Are They Still Alive?

When the playoffs began I made my predictions.  While I was expecting to be surprised in a lot of the series and to have a reasonable number of my predictions proven wrong, there are certain things I was pretty certain about.  I looked at the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders series and saw a mismatch.  Pittsburgh is the team I think is most likely to win the Stanley Cup and the New York Islanders are just lucky to be there.  The Islanders took a team with not much talent beyond John Tavares and slipped into the playoffs with a strong streak at the end of a shortened season.

Five games into the series Pittsburgh leads three games to two.  Likely the Penguins will win this series but I am surprised it's not over yet.  The Islanders have not had strong goaltending.  Evgeni Nabokov is posting an .847 saves percentage.  Those numbers sustained over any long period get players sent to the AHL.  How can a team that barely made the playoffs have a number one goalie posting a .847 saves percentage and still not be eliminated?  I suppose defence is an answer.  The Isles have allowed the third fewest shots per game.  That is despite the fact their defence doesn't scare anyone.  Lubomir Visnovsky, Travis Hamonic and until he missed game five Andrew MacDonald lead their defence.

Their offence as a whole has not been full of stars.  In the regular season John Tavares led the group.  In the playoffs Mark Streit is leading them in scoring (from defence) and he is doing this despite being fifth in icetime per game among their defencemen.  Kyle Okposo is leading the team with three goals.  There are five players on the Isles opponent - Pittsburgh who have more points than any Islander.

If there is a reason that the Islanders are still in the series it is that Marc-Andre Fleury made enough mistakes to allow them to win a couple games.  Those days look like they are over now as Tomas Vokoun has taken over in goal and got a shutout in game five.  Probably that means the Isles will drop in game six.  Nevertheless if before the season began you told me that the Islanders would not only make the playoffs but win two games when they get there I would be impressed by that result.  It is their best playoff showing in over ten years. 

I am surprised the New York Islanders have made it this far.  I am very surprised they are still alive in the playoffs.  I doubt it lasts much longer but they deserve some credit for making it this far.

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Comments

Avatar

strangely, the answer is fairly clear to anyone who has read your blog: your analysis of data is both short-sighted and inappropriate in most cases.

Posted by scooter on 05/11/13 at 02:30 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

The Isles actually outplayed the Pens in games 2,3, and 4.

Posted by LiteWork on 05/11/13 at 03:05 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Ignoring The Fleury Factor for a second, it’s been common knowledge the past couple of seasons that despite the head-to-head record, the Islanders and the speed of their forwards has presented significant matchup problems for the Penguins’ defense…..

That’s why as the playoffs got closer, if you asked Pens fans who’d they’d rather face, it would have much rather be the Rangers or Ottawa and NOT the Islanders…..

By the way, Toronto’s speedy forwards give the Pens the same matchup problems….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/11/13 at 03:44 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Ignoring The Fleury Factor for a second, it’s been common knowledge the past couple of seasons that despite the head-to-head record, the Islanders and the speed of their forwards has presented significant matchup problems for the Penguins’ defense…..

That’s why as the playoffs got closer, if you asked Pens fans who’d they’d rather face, it would have much rather be the Rangers or Ottawa and NOT the Islanders…..

By the way, Toronto’s speedy forwards give the Pens the same matchup problems….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/11/13 at 04:44 PM ET

Ottawa? Ottawa plays excellent team defense and Anderson is playing fantastic. They are a tough matchup for any of the remaining East teams.

Posted by LiteWork on 05/11/13 at 05:29 PM ET

Tony's avatar

But they don’t have the speed up front that gives the Pens problems….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/11/13 at 06:51 PM ET

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About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com