By Eric Hornick
Eastern Conference First Round Game 4
Isles 3, Pittsburgh 1
It's on to Round 2.
For the second straight game, Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson scored first period goals to erase an early Penguin lead as the Isles eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 3-1 victory before a sellout crowd of 18,609 at PPG Paints Arena.
Josh Bailey's empty-netter from his own zone clinched the series for their first sweep since the 1983 Final. It's the seventh best-of-7 sweep in franchise history, but the other six all occurred between 1977-1983.
Robin Lehner made 32 saves; he stopped 130 of 136 Pittsburgh shots in the series as he became the first NHL goalie since Michael Leighton (2010 with Philadelphia) to win his first four career playoff starts. Only 12 other goalies in NHL history have done so.
The Isles will now await the winner of the Washington-Carolina series. The second round series will open in either DC if the Caps advance or in Brooklyn if the Canes win the series.
Jake Guentzel (1) Sidney Crosby, Jared McCann 00:35 NYI 0,PIT 1
Jordan Eberle (4) Mathew Barzal, Scott Mayfield 02:09 NYI 1,PIT 1
Brock Nelson (3) Josh Bailey, Tom Kuhnhackl 18:06 NYI 2,PIT 1
Josh Bailey (3)EN Valtteri Filppula 19:22 NYI 3,PIT 1
The Series (Isles win 4-0)
Game 1: Isles 4, Pittsburgh 3 (OT)
Game 2: Isles 3, Pittsburgh 1
Game 3: Isles 4, Pittsburgh 1
Game 4: Isles 3, Pittsburgh 1
Jordan Eberle went 4-2-6 in the series; he is the first Islander to open a playoff run by scoring in four straight games since Ray Ferraro (1993 vs. Washington) and also joins Ferraro as the only players in Isles history to score in their first four playoff games with the team…Eberle is the first Islander since Kip Miller (games 4-7 vs. Toronto in 2002) to score in four consecutive playoff games; he last scored in four consecutive regular season games in January/February 2012…Mathew Barzal had five assists in the series; he is the first Islander in at least the last 31 years to have five assists in the first four games of a playoff year.. Both Eberle and Barzal went +6 in the series; that also hasn't been done by an Islander in the last 31 years… Valtteri Filppula appeared in his 30th career playoff game against Pittsburgh (most of any active player). Only Dominic Moore (31 games) has played more playoff games against the Pens. Filppula is 25-60-85 in 162 playoff games. He has played 61 more playoff games than Johnny Boychuk, who is 2nd in career games among current Isles with 101…The Isles have won all ten series when winning the first three games.… It's the first time since the 2013 Eastern Conference Final (vs. Boston) that the Penguins have been swept… No Isles goalie or coach had ever won their first two playoff games; both Robin Lehner and Barry Trotz have now won their first four… The Isles outscored the Penguins 14-6 in the series; the Penguins scored first in each of the last three games. The Isles are 7-8 all-time in playoff games in Pittsburgh and have won four of the last six dating back to game 7 of the 1993 Patrick Division Finals…Matt Martin tied the club record (which he previously shared with Steve Webb) for hits in a playoff game: 11. Since real-time scoring began in 1998-99, no player has averaged more hits/playoff game than Martin (6.9)…Jake Guentzel's goal was the third earliest for the Penguins in a playoff game and was the earliest allowed by the Isles in exactly 16 years (Mike Fisher for Ottawa on 4/16/03)..The Isles held Pittsburgh to one goal in each of the last three games. It's the third time in Islander history that they have allowed one goal or fewer in three straight games: (3: April 18-22, 1979 vs. Chicago, 5: May 1-12, 1984 vs. Montreal/Edmonton)…The last time the Isles clinched a playoff series on the road was also in Pittsburgh, in 1993… A team that has swept its first round series has played for the Stanley Cup in each of the last two years (Nashville, Vegas); the Isles and Columbus are the only teams to sweep a first round series this year...Brock Nelson is the first Islander to score consecutive game winning goals in the same series since Ray Ferraro (games 3 and 4) in 1993; John Tavares had the series-winner vs. Florida and the game 1 winner vs. Tampa Bay in 2016.
Both Johnny Boychuk and Cal Clutterbuck left the game with injuries in the 2nd period and did not return.
This is the fifth all-time playoff meeting between the teams:
• 1975- Quarter-Finals. Isles won series 4 games to 3.
• 1982- Preliminary Series. Isles won series 3 games to 2.
• 1993- Division Final. Isles won series 4 games to 3.
• 2013- Conference Quarter-Finals. Pittsburgh won series 4 games to 2.
• 2019- Conference First Round. Isles won series 4 games to 0.
Overtime is Our Time
The Isles are 34-16 (.680) all-time in overtime, including 18-9 (.667) at home. The .680 overall percentage and .667 home percentages are both the best in NHL history. The Isles are 1-0 in overtime this season; eight of the 20 playoff games the Isles have played since 2014 have gone to overtime with the Isles holding a 5-3 record.
Pittsburgh is 30-31 in overtime, including 12-12 on the road.
There have been six overtime games between the teams; each team has won three. John Tonelli (1982) and David Volek (1993) have the other winners for the Isles while Rick Kehoe (1982), Chris Kunitz (2013) and Brooks Orpik (2013) have winners for Pittsburgh. Each of the six games was decided in the first nine minutes of overtime.
In game 1, the Isles led for 27:43 and the game was tied for 36:56.
In game 2, the Isles led for 12:06, the game was tied for 45:05 and Pittsburgh led for 2:49.
In game 3, the Isles led for 45:36, the game was tied for 13:56 and Pittsburgh led for :28.
In game 4, the Isles led for 42:09, the game was tied for 16:17 and Pittsburgh led for 1:34
Totals: Isles 127:34, Tied 112:14, Pittsburgh 4:51
Other than the final 8:22 of game two, the final 9:33 of game three and the final :38 of game four, the score has been tied or within one goal for the entire series.
The Isles improve to 148-120 in 267 all-time playoff games. They are 84-44 at home (including 2-3 at Barclays) and 64-76 on the road.
What a Season!
The Isles finished 2nd in the Metro Division, 4th in the Eastern Conference and 5th in the NHL. The Isles have not finished that high since the conference was created. They last finished that high in a conference in 87-88, when they were 3rd in the Wales Conference. It's the first time since 1985-86 that the Isles have finished in the top five overall.
Two Isles Goalies with at least 23 Wins in a Regular Season
• 1978-79: Chico Resch (26) & Billy Smith (25)
• 2018-19: Robin Lehner (25) & Thomas Greiss (23)
Best Goals Against Average by An Islander in a Regular Season
1. Chico Resch 1975-76 2.08
2. Robin Lehner 2018-19 2.13
3. Thomas Greiss 2018-19 2.28
4. Chico Resch 1975-76 2.28
5. Jaroslav Halak 2015-16 2.30
Best Save Percentage by an Islander in a Regular Season
1. Robin Lehner 2018-19 .930
2. Chico Resch 1975-76 .928
3. Thomas Greiss 2018-19 .927
4. Thomas Greiss 2015-16 .925
The Best (Fourth) Line in Hockey
In the regular season, the Isles were 35-16-6 when Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck all play and are 13-11-1 when one or more miss a game. They are 4-0 when all three play in the playoffs.
In this series, the trio has combined for 19 shots on goal and 64 hits.
It's Good to be Home
The Isles went 12-7-2 on Coliseum ice; they averaged 97.1% of capacity on Long Island (including 14 sellouts). They are 2-0 in playoff games at the Coliseum (2 sellouts).
Most Points (Post-Cup Era)
• 103: 2018-19
• 101: 2014-15
Most Road Points (Post Cup Era)
• 51: 2018-19
• 49: 2014-15
Fewest Goals Allowed (Includes SO)
• 190 1975-76 (no overtime games; 80-game schedule)
• 193 1976-77 (no overtime games; 80-game schedule)
• 196 2018-19 (189 in regulation, two in overtime, and five in shootouts)
The Isles allowed 190 goals in the 80-game 1975-76 season (2.38/game). The Isles have allowed 2.30 goals in regulation and 2.39 goals including OT/SO this season.
Worst to First
The Isles allowed the most goals in the NHL last season and the fewest goals in the NHL this season. Only once before in NHL history had a team allowed the most goals in one season and the fewest in the next; the Ottawa Senators did so in 1917-18 and 1918-19.
In regular season play, Barry Trotz is 2nd among active coaches in games and third in wins. Trotz' NHL record is 810-595-60-141 in 1,606 games.
Most Coaching Wins
1. Scotty Bowman 1,244
2. Joel Quenneville 890
3. Ken Hitchcock 849
4. Barry Trotz 810
5. Al Arbour 782
Most Games Coached
1. Scotty Bowman 2,141
2. Joel Quenneville 1,636
3. Al Arbour 1,607
4. Barry Trotz 1,606
5. Ken Hitchcock 1,598
Trotz will catch Al Arbour in games coached on Opening Night next season.
Coach Trotz (Playoffs)
Barry Trotz has now coached 117 playoff games (59-58). He is tied-16th all-time in games coached with Billy Reay (117) and Jacques Lemaire (117). His 59 wins are 19th all time, two behind Jacques Lemaire and four behind Fred Shero and Claude Julien. Trotz won the Stanley Cup last season; Joel Quenneville (3) and Mike Sullivan (2) are the only active coaches with multiple Stanley Cups.
Most playoff wins by Islander coaches:
• Al Arbour 123
• Jack Capuano 10
• Terry Simpson 9
• Barry Trotz 4
• Peter Laviolette 4
• Ted Nolan 1
• Steve Stirling 1
Most playoff games coached (Islanders):
• Al Arbour 209
• Jack Capuano 24
• Terry Simpson 20
• Peter Laviolette 12
• Steve Stirling 5
• Ted Nolan 5
• Barry Trotz 4
Most overtime wins/overtime record:
• Al Arbour 26 (26-9)
• Jack Capuano 4 (4-5)
• Terry Simpson 3 (3-0)
• Barry Trotz 1 (1-0)
• Peter Laviolette 0 (0-1)
• Steve Stirling 0 (0-1)
Most playoff series wins:
• Al Arbour 29
• Barry Trotz 1
• Jack Capuano 1
• Terry Simpson 1
What a Difference a Year Makes
This Season: 48-27-7 (103 points), with 228 goals scored and 196 goals allowed (includes SO winners)
Last Season: 35-37-10 (80 points), with 264 goals scored and 296 goals allowed (includes SO winners)
The Isles allowed 100 fewer goals, a decrease of 33.7% as compared to last season.
First Things First
The Isles are 1-0 when scoring first and are 3-0 when allowing the first goal in the playoffs.
Shots by Game
• Game 1: Isles 33, Pittsburgh 44
• Game 2: Isles 34, Pittsburgh 33
• Game 3: Isles 36, Pittsburgh 26
• Game 4: Isles 26, Pittsburgh 33
• Series: Isles 129, Pittsburgh 136
The Isles are 1-0 when they outshoot their opponents, 0-0 when the shots are even and 3-0 when they are outshot. [The Isles won a franchise-record 31 games when outshot this season.]
In the Nets
Robin Lehner made 32 saves to improve to 4-0 in the playoffs and in his career against Pittsburgh.
Matt Murray made 23 saves but falls to 0-4 in the playoffs and in his career against the Isles.
The Isles were 0-3 on the power play in 6:00 of PP time; Pittsburgh was 0-3 on the power play in 6:00 of PP time.
Power Plays by Game
• Game 1: Isles 1-2 (2:25; 5 shots), Pittsburgh 1-3 (5:11, 2 shots)
• Game 2: Isles 1-6 (9:59, 8 shots), Pittsburgh 0-2 (3:05, 3 shots)
• Game 3: Isles 0-2 (2:23, 5 shots), Pittsburgh 0-4 (5:16, 4 shots)
• Game 4: Isles 0-3 (6:00, 7 shots), Pittsburgh 0-3 (6:00, 2 shots)
• Series: Isles 2-13 (20:47, 25 shots), Pittsburgh 1-12 (19:32, 11 shots)
Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 4-0 in the playoffs when they score at least three goals. In the regular season the Isles went 38-2-2 when they scored at least three goals (including shootout winners) and 10-25-5 when they did not. The 10 wins when being held to two goals or fewer are a franchise record.
One Goal Games
The Isles are 1-0 in the playoffs in one-goal games; they were 19-6-7 in games decided by a single goal in the regular season. The Isles are 1-0 in playoff games where an empty-net goal turns a 1-goal game into a 2-goal game.
Isles: Ryan Pulock (24:05); Pittsburgh: Kris Letang (25:41)
Josh Bailey led Isles forwards with 18:01 of ice-time
Isles record by ice-time leader: Adam Pelech (1-0), Ryan Pulock (3-0)
Isles 26, Pittsburgh 30 (46%).
Brock Nelson won 8 of 15 for the Isles; Sidney Crosby won 17 of 25 for Pittsburgh.
Face-offs by period: 1st period 10/17; 2nd period 6/16; 3rd period 10/23.
Face-offs by strength: Even strength: 22/46, Power play 2/5, Penalty kill 2/5.
Face-offs by Game
• Game 1: Isles 35, Pittsburgh 29 (55%).
• Game 2: Isles 33, Pittsburgh 24 (58%).
• Game 3: Isles 26, Pittsburgh 29 (47%)
• Game 4: Isles 26, Pittsburgh 30 (46%)
• Series: Isles 120, Pittsburgh 112 (52%)
Isles 50 (Matt Martin -11)
Pittsburgh 34 (Garrett Wilson-4)
Hits Game by Game:
• Game 1: Isles 42, Pittsburgh 43
• Game 2: Isles 41, Pittsburgh 36
• Game 3: Isles 47, Pittsburgh 58
• Game 4: Isles 50, Pittsburgh 34
• Series: Isles 180, Pittsburgh 171
There were no fights. Playoff total -0. The Isles were involved in 16 fights in the regular season.
The Isles blocked 23 shots (Adam Pelech-6).
For the Corsi Crowd
All situations: Isles 54, Pittsburgh 74
5-on-5 Isles 41, Pittsburgh 61
Isles: Nick Leddy +8
Pittsburgh: Jake Guentzel +20
Corsi Game by Game:
• Game 1 (All) Isles 62, Pittsburgh 83; (5-on-5) Isles 49, Pittsburgh 70
• Game 2 (All) Isles 59, Pittsburgh 62; (5-on-5) Isles 39, Pittsburgh 47
• Game 3 (All) Isles 61, Pittsburgh 58; (5-on-5) Isles 48, Pittsburgh 45
• Game 4 (All) Isles 54, Pittsburgh 74; (5-on-5) Isles 41, Pittsburgh 61
• Series (All) Isles 236, Pittsburgh 277; (5-on-5) Isles 177, Pittsburgh 223
(Andrew Ladd -INJ), (Tanner Fritz- INJ),Thomas Hickey, Luca Sbisa, Dennis Seidenberg, Ross Johnston, Michael Dal Colle
Playoff games lost: 8. The Isles lost 153 man-games in the regular season
Post-Season Late Heroes
The Isles have scored once in overtime:
4/10 – PIT Penguins-Josh Bailey scored the winning goal (4:39 of OT)
Post-Season Late Goals Allowed
The Isles have allowed a goal four times in the final two minutes of regulation to either tie or win a game:
4/10 – PIT Penguins – Justin Schultz tied the game (18:31), but the Isles won in overtime.
Playoff Offside Challenges
4/10 – PIT Penguins – Isles goal overturned after successful Penguin challenge.
On the Farm
The Sound Tigers will begin the best-of-5 first round series on Friday against Hershey.
1 Friday, Apr. 19 at Bridgeport
2 Saturday, Apr. 20 at Bridgeport
3 Tuesday, Apr. 23 at Hershey
4* Thursday, Apr. 25 at Hershey
5* Saturday, Apr. 27 at Bridgeport
The Sound Tigers went 12-1-1-1 in their final 15 games at home.
Overall, Bridgeport finished the regular season with a record of 43-24-6-3; the 97 points is their most ever in a 76-game schedule and their highest total since Jack Capuano led them to a 106-point campaign in 2008-09 (80 games).
Leaders: Goals: Steve Bernier 24; Assists: Chris Bourque 39; Points: Chris Bourque 54; +/-: Jeff Kubiak/Otto Koivula +14. Goalies: Christopher Gibson 22-11-5 (2.84 GAA); Jeremy Smith 21-13-4 (2.92 GAA)
ROUND 2 VS WASHINGTON OR CAROLINA
HOME GAMES AT BARCLAYS CENTER
All games on NBCSN or NBC, with extensive post game coverage on MSG/MSG+/MSGGo,
Radio coverage on 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 FM WRCN and Radio.com
Tonight's game was the final of 85 Islander telecasts this season on MSG Networks. Thanks to my MSG colleagues for an amazing season – the ones you know: Brendan Burke, Butch Goring, Shannon Hogan, AJ Mleczko and Jenn Botterill and the ones you should: Jim Gallagher, Joel Mandelbaum, Sarah Servetnick, Charlie Cucchiara and JT Townsend.
See you with the 589th consecutive edition of The Skinny next week!
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since January 21, 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources. Follow Eric @ehornick on Twitter & on his blog www.nyiskinny.com.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick
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