The New York Islanders have a chance to take back the lead in their best of seven series with the Pittsburgh Penguins when the puck drops for Game 5 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
The Isles took Game 4 of the series on Saturday in a commanding 4-1 win off the stellar effort of rooking goaltender Ilya Sorokin and an offensive explosion from the team’s skaters. Now the Islanders can take a 3-2 lead with a win tonight and eye the chance to close things on Wednesday at the Nassau Coliseum.
That will be far from an easy task for New York, which suffered a tough loss in Game 2 last week in the same building. A soft goal allowed by Semyon Varlamov in the opening minutes of the game turned the tide in what would be a 2-1 loss.
Pittsburgh will be hungry after the ugly loss they had Saturday and being back in their own building in front of their own fans. The Islanders will try to maintain the momentum they had in Game 4 into tonight’s contest.
“Playoffs is all about momentum,” Nick Leddy said. “Whenever you can create that as a team, especially scoring a goal that will give you that momentum. You want to try and ride that wave as long as possible.”
In Game 2, Pittsburgh had a capacity crowd of 9,344 and they will have the same number of fans in the building tonight.
“They have a great atmosphere here in Pittsburgh,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “We know that they have a great crowd here. It should be packed from what I understand and in Pittsburgh, the fans here and the Penguins have a good love affair. I’ve been in many playoff series. It’s a tough atmosphere to come into, but you have to understand as a visiting that it’s a tough atmosphere but at the same time that’s what can galvanize us as well.”
Barry Trotz is expected to ice the same lineup that he did in Game 4 on Saturday on Long Island. Trotz told reporters this afternoon that everyone was available.
The expectation is that Sorokin will get the start in Game 5. The Islanders held an optional morning skate at PPG Paints Arena where Cory Schneider and Varlamov were the only goaltenders on the ice.
Pittsburgh had the same lines as Game 4 during their morning skate.
All the same…
— Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) May 24, 2021
New York Islanders Lines (Projected)
Leo Komarov — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Kyle Palmieri – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines (Projected)
Jake Guentzel — Sidney Crosby — Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker — Evgeni Malkin — Kasperi Kapanen
Jared McCann — Jeff Carter — Frederick Gaudreau
Zach Aston-Reese — Teddy Blueger — Brandon Tanev
Brian Dumoulin — Kris Letang
Mike Matheson — Cody Ceci
Marcus Pettersson — John Marino
Pittsburgh is 10-3 at home in Game 5s all-time when a best-of-7 series is tied. They have a series record of 15-9 in best-of-seven playoff series when entering Game 5 tied 2-2 in the series. … Evgeni Malkin is the leading points scorer among active players against the Islanders with 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 12 playoff games. … Tristan Jarry is 5-1-0 against the New York Islanders (regular season + playoffs) with a 1.96 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage. … The Islanders are 6-2 in playoff games against Pittsburgh under Head Coach Barry Trotz, including 3-1 in Pittsburgh. … The Islanders scored two third-period power-play goals 24 seconds apart in Game 4. It was their fastest two goals in a playoff game since 2002 (April 23 vs. TOR) and the first time in franchise history the team scored two power-play goals in that time span. … The Islanders lead the league in hits (196) through four postseason games. They recorded 72 hits in Game 1, the 7th-highest total of any team in the playoffs since the 2005-06 season.
How to Watch
Tonight’s game will air locally on MSG and MSG+. Nationally the game will air on NBCSN. On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 98.7 FM ESPN New York, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.
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