by PuckStopsHere on 05/10/13 at 11:12 PM ET
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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