Quick shifts from a postseason debut that presumably lacked only getting through the game healthy in terms of the Penguins meeting their Game 1 objectives throughout
their 5-0 victory over the Islanders:
-The Pens made their intentions known 19 seconds after the opening face-off, when Evgeni Malkin drove hard to the net before eventually being stopped by Evgeni Nabokov.
After that came more of the same, attack, attack, attack. Drive the net hard, shoot from in close and keep coming.
The Pens must think Nabokov likes crowds around his crease about as much as Ilya Bryzgalov likes bears.
Beau Bennett scored from a bad angle after beating a defenseman wide and driving the net.
Brandon Sutter drew a penalty crashing Nabokov’s cage.
Pascal Dupuis scored twice from the slot area on rebounds.
Kris Letang attacked right down the middle off a face-off play from just outside the New York blueline.
The plan was pucks and bodies to the net, and repeat relentlessly.
The fancy stuff didn’t even appear to be a consideration.
Head coach Dan Bylsma called the approach “smashmouth,” and said the idea was to go “up
the middle and leave a dent in the offensive zone.”
So far the Islanders have no answer for this.
-Bylsma had drawn some raised eyebrows in the media room early this season _ it might have been after that ugly, 4-1 loss to the Islanders on Jan. 29 _ when he was asked to identify the quarterback of his power play, the player the man-advantage unit needed to run through to succeed.
The power play was momentum-sucking bad at the time.
Bylsma’s response wasn’t Malkin or Sidney Crosby.
It was Kris Letang.
I get that now.
-The New York power play against the Pittsburgh penalty kill was perceived by some as an Islanders’ advantage coming in.
But through two periods of Game 1 the Pens had gone 2-for-3 with the man-advantage and the Islanders had gone 0-for-1 with another power play carrying over into the third and the score was 5-0 Pittsburgh.
Keeping the NYI power-play attempts to a minimum is as important to the Penguins in this series as the timely power-play goal or goals they manage to produce.
-Bennett for Tyler Kennedy; any questions?