Just because the Hurricanes are out of it doesn't mean my tracking days are over. I'll be doing various stat tracking for every playoff game this year and will be posting scoring chance reports here for the ones I'm able to do live. I'll have reports for the other games posted at a later date (possibly after each series is over), but scoring chances will come a day or so after I'm able to track a game live. It will be a way to follow the playoffs in-depth and take a closer look at each series for those who are interested in that.
Unfortunately, the first game I was able to track live was the most lopsided and non-competitive game of the first round. Despite being a 1 vs. 8 matchup, I was expecting the Islanders-Penguins series to be a little closer than some of the experts and causal fans were predicting and while I still hold onto that statement, Game 1 looked exactly like a top seed going against a bottom seed. The Penguins humiliated the Islanders last night in a 5-0 win and the Isles were basically out-competed and out-matched in just about every area.
That is, in every area except for puck-possession. The Islanders actually had much more shot attempts than the Penguins during five-on-five play but it ultimately didn't matter because of a few reasons. First of all, the Islanders got into early penalty trouble and Pittsburgh made them pay for it to get an early lead. Secondly, the Islanders goaltending wasn't very good and Evgeni Nabokov let in a couple goals he would probably want back and lastly, most of the Islanders shots were either blocked or came from a non-threatening area. As a result, the Penguins had a huge advantage in scoring chances despite not winning the puck-possession battle.
New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins: Game 1
The Isles may have had the puck more often but the Penguins defense was able to get in the way of many of them and most of the ones that actually got on net were very easy to stop for Marc-Andre Fleury. To put things into perspective, the Penguins had as many scoring chances in the first period as the Islanders had all-game, so I think they can live with the fact that they got outshot. I mentioned that bad goaltending put the Islanders in a bit of a hole, but when your offensive production is this bad, you have bigger problems on your hands. Creating only five even strength scoring chances in one game is bad and this kind of performance is inexcusable in a playoff game. It will be a quick series if this continues but the Islanders are a better team than what they showed last night, so I think we will see a different team on Friday night.
Islanders Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forwards: John Tavares & Kyle Okposo +1
Worst EV Forward: Keith Aucoin -7
Best EV Defensemen: Mark Streit & Brian Strait -1
Worst EV Defenseman: Andrew MacDonald -5
The Islanders bottom-six took a huge thumping with Aucoin, Grabner & McDonald taking the bulk of the damage. Their top forwards were all neutralized at even strength but all managed to perform okay defensively while their depth forwards got lit up. Tavares was held without a shot but he was far from the Islanders worst forward and I think he will have a better performance in Game 2.
As for the Islanders defense, there isn't much good to say about how any of the players performed. Hamonic & MacDonald were crushed as were Hickey & Visnovsky while Streit & Strait were a non-factor and the latter took a bad penalty early in the first period. Best thing the Islanders can do after a performance like this is just burn the tape and come out better for Game 2.
Penguins Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Jarome Iginla +5
Worst EV Forwards: Tanner Glass & Brandon Sutter EVEN
Best EV Defenseman: Paul Martin +8
Worst EV Defensemen: Deryk Engelland, Mark Eaton & Matt Niskanen +1
I say this often, but when no player has a negative even strength scoring chance differential, it means that your team played a pretty great game. That was the case for the Pens last night. Everyone played great and one player who stood out was Pascal Dupuis, who scored two goals and created a team-leading scoring chances. His line with Jarome Iginla and Jussi Jokinen were responsible for a chunk of Pittsburgh's even strength offensive production and came away with a coupel of goals to show for it. Malkin's line also had a good game and even some of their depth forwards like Craig Adams chipped in. Brandon Sutter also neutralized the Tavares line so basically everyone on the Pens did their job and came away with a decisive victory.
Although, I have to admit this little stat is funny: Tanner Glass was on the ice for only one Pittsburgh shot on goal last night and it ended up going in. He was also the player who took the shot, so that makes it even more hilarious.
Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five
Bylsma had the advantage of the last change and he was able to get Jokinen & Malkin out against Colin McDonald's line numerous times because of it. The results speak for themselves here. It's also worth noting that Hamonic & MacDonald did a fine job against Malkin's line but that unit was able to make up for it by crushing Visnovsky & Hickey. The Islanders depth players let them down in this game while their top forwards were shut-down at even strength. That's a recipe for disaster against most teams but especially bad against a deep squad like Pittsburgh.
|1||PIT||16:30||Bennett – GOAL||16||40||3||47||20||71||19||10||7||58||29||4v5|
|1||PIT||6:37||Dupuis – GOAL||10||40||17||3||47||20||12||27||9||7||58||29||5v5|
|2||PIT||18:41||Letang – GOAL||51||2||3||47||20||71||12||14||18||58||29||4v5|
|2||PIT||18:09||Dupuis – GOAL||91||24||26||11||14||20||19||9||36||4||7||29||5v5|