Game five of the Pittsburgh Penguins versus New York Islanders series ended in double OT, with the Islanders coming out on top by a score of 3-2, giving them a 3-2 series lead heading back to Long Island for game six.
The Pens fired 50 shots at rookie goaltender Ilya Sorokin who stole the show, making 48 saves and finishing the night with a .960 save percentage. The Russian netminder has been outstanding in goal for the Isles, winning all three of his playoff appearances for the team. The 25-year-old’s ability to cover the bottom of the net almost perfectly, alongside his athleticism and flexibility have made him a tough code to crack for the Pens, who have had to work hard for their goals. His confidence and comfort in such a high-stress and important game has been important to the Islanders’ success, as well as his own.
At the other end of the rink, Tristan Jarry was not nearly as busy. The 26-year-old made 25 saves on 28 shots, finishing with a .893 save percentage. One of Jarry’s strongest assets to his game is his puck-playing ability, however it was a blunder while trying to play the puck that cost the Penguins game five in double OT.
Kris Letang on the mistake by Jarry: “You shake it off and you have to bring your A-game the next one. It’s a team game. It’s nobody’s fault. We win as a team and we lose as a team.”
|08:20||PIT||PP||Evgeni Malkin (1)||Kris Letang, Bryan Rust|
|19:05||NYI||Anthony Beauvillier (2)||Josh Bailey, Nick Leddy|
|07:37||PIT||Bryan Rust (2)||Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang|
|08:50||NYI||Jordan Eberle (2)||Leo Komarov, Jean-Gabriel Pageau|
|2nd OT Period|
|00:51||NYI||Josh Bailey (3)|
A nifty passing-play by the Pens top powerplay unit got the team on the board at the 8:20 mark of the first period, after Evgeni Malkin whistled a hard wrister past the short-side blocker of Sorokin. Geno’s goal ties him for second place in Penguins’ all-time playoff points with 172, alongside Mario Lemieux. In the final minute of the period, Anthony Beauvillier levelled the score-line with an impressive display of his speed, walking around the Penguins defense, before flipping the puck over the blocker of Jarry.
The second period was a very one-sided period, where the Penguins heavily dominated, out-shooting the Isles 20-4 in the frame. However, the Isles brick-wall goaltender put on a clinic, and the Pens were only able to get one past him courtesy of Bryan Rust at the 7:37 mark, the only goal of the period. A drop pass from Sidney Crosby along the right-side was one-timed by Rust, beating Sorokin on his blocker-side, putting the Pens in front 2-1.
Despite being out-shot 9-6 in the third period, the Islanders played a much better period, and at the 8:50 mark, were finally rewarded for their hard work. A hard forecheck by Jean-Gabriel Pageau forced a turnover which ultimately found Jordan Eberle alone in the slot, who walked around a sprawling Jarry and scored the game-tying goal.
The first OT frame saw chances traded at both ends of the ice but solved nothing through another 20 minutes. However, the second OT frame took just 51 seconds to find a winner. A dump in that Jarry came out to play, ended as a nightmare as he seemed to whiff on the pass up the middle, and right onto the stick of Josh Bailey, who struggled to get the bouncing puck to settle, before flicking it over the glove of Jarry and sealing the Penguins defeat. An unlikely blunder from a normally great puck-playing goaltender.
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Unfortunately for the Penguins goaltender, his careless pass up the middle of his own zone could not have come at a worse time, and has now put the East Division Champions on the brink of elimination in what would be their third straight first-round exit from the postseason.
Coach Mike Sullivan defended Jarry after the game: “I thought he had a heck of a game up to that point. He made a mistake. But he made some great saves for us throughout the course of the game as well.” He continued, “We’ll rally around (Jarry), he’s been a really good goalie for us all year long. He’ll continue to be a good goalie for us going forward.”
Despite his stellar performances throughout the season, Jarry has undoubtedly looked shaky at times throughout the playoffs but has still kept his team in the game. However, his game five gaffe will certainly outweigh his successes if the Penguins fail to advance to the second-round.
The Penguins dominated the game and deserved a better fate in game five of the series. The team has run into a confident and hot goaltender and will need to figure out a way to solve the Russian rookie. Both Pens goals came on Sorokin’s blocker-side, something to keep an eye on for the team, much alike Jarry’s glove-side, which has been questionable in this series, and a targeted weakness by the Isles.
The Pens and Isles will be back in Long Island for game six in a must-win matchup for the Penguins on Wednesday night at 6:30PM EST.
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