The Islanders arrived at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday with the chance to clinch a playoff sequence victory at their unique house for the primary time since 1993.
A raucous house crowd — with area capability elevated to 9,000 for Game 6 from 6,800 earlier in the sequence — was an added bonus and the Islanders didn’t disappoint them.
A seesaw recreation tilted the Islanders’ manner halfway by way of the second interval when Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock scored 13 seconds aside, giving the Islanders a one-goal lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nelson scored once more three minutes later to cement a 5-Three win. The fourth-seeded Islanders upset the East Division-winning Penguins, closing out the first-round sequence with three consecutive wins. The Islanders will proceed their playoff run in opposition to the Boston Bruins in their ultimate season on the Coliseum.
The rookie netminder Ilya Sorokin — who received all 4 video games he began in his first playoff sequence — made 34 saves for the clinching win. He stopped 27 of the 28 photographs he confronted in the ultimate two durations, together with a denial of Evgeni Malkin on a breakaway. The cease spawned cascading chants of “Ilya, Ilya” from the Coliseum crowd and encapsulated the sequence: Penguins frustration and composed Islanders execution.
“The crowd was rowdy — they were loud,” Nelson stated. “They gave us a boost. We wanted to win that one in front of them.”
Josh Bailey’s Game 5 double-overtime winner on Monday in Pittsburgh had impressed the followers, as the possibility to advance was at their trembling fingertips. The workforce hadn’t clinched a sequence on Long Island since a six-game victory over the Washington Capitals in April 1993, although it did win a sequence in 2016 whereas enjoying at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Each workforce scored twice in the primary interval. Penguins heart Jeff Carter notched his fourth objective of the sequence simply 1 minute 27 seconds into the competition earlier than Anthony Beauvillier despatched the gang right into a frenzy at 5:16 when he knocked the puck previous Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry.
Jake Guentzel put the guests forward at 11:12 with a power-play objective whereas Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield was in the penalty field for crosschecking Malkin.
But Kyle Palmieri, one of many Islanders’ late-season acquisitions from the Devils, tapped a rebound previous Jarry at 12:25, tying the rating once more and claiming his third objective of the sequence.
Travis Zajac, additionally acquired from the Devils, made his sequence debut, changing Oliver Wahlstrom, who was injured in Game 5. Zajac and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who had two factors, assisted on Pulock’s go-ahead objective.
“The Pageau, Palmieri, Zajac line was terrific,” Coach Barry Trotz stated. “Those are the acquisitions we made, they are the type of players that fit into Islanders mentality.”
The Penguins began the third interval on an influence play after a disputed name in opposition to Pulock late in the second. But the Penguins captain Sidney Crosby’s shot off the submit was as shut as Pittsburgh bought.
The Penguins’ stars had restricted impression in the sequence. Malkin had 5 factors, however he missed Games 1 and a pair of with damage. Crosby had solely two factors in six video games.
The Islanders entered the competition with historical past on their aspect.
They got here in with an 11-1 file in Game 6s once they have been main a sequence by three video games to 2. And they have been 7-2 in playoff video games in opposition to Pittsburgh below Coach Barry Trotz, together with a 3-1 mark at Nassau Coliseum.
Fans are relishing one final likelihood for playoff video games at their intimate house rink, which opened in 1972. The workforce will transfer into its state-of-the-art house at Belmont Park subsequent season, however that may wait because the franchise chases its first title since a run of 4 straight championships from 1980 to 1983.
“This is just one step,” Nelson stated. “We want to make some history of our own here at the Coli.”