Isles look to grab 2-0 lead vs. Penguins
Hope to build off inspiring Game 1 overtime victory on Friday
The New York Islanders are three wins away from coming back to Brooklyn for the remainder of the playoffs.
Josh Bailey’s overtime tally secured a 4-3 Game 1 victory over Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night at the renovated Nassau Coliseum, putting the Islanders in position to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series Friday night in Uniondale, N.Y.
New York, which will play all its home games in the opening round at “The Old Barn”, hasn’t skated on the Barclays Center ice since Feb. 16.
But that could change if the Isles continue to be as resilient as they were in this scintillating playoff opener, overcoming a pair of replay challenges that went against them and some unfortunate puck luck via Bailey’s bid for a game-winner in regulation that clanged off the post with five seconds remaining.
“We just stayed to it. I liked our composure on the bench,” first-year Isles head coach Barry Trotz said after his team surrendered three one-goal leads before putting the Penguins away in OT.
“They didn’t flinch at all, which is good,” he added. “In close games, we’ve learned to be comfortable and they are going to be close games in the playoffs.”
Trotz, who led the Washington Capitals to their first-ever Stanley Cup title last season, is now trying to push this team, which is in the playoffs for the first time since 2016, past a Pittsburgh squad that won back-to-back championships before being dethroned by the Caps last spring.
Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson and veteran defenseman Nick Leddy scored in regulation for the Isles, who got 41 big saves from netminder Robin Lehner, who figures to be back between the pipes for Game 2 Saturday.
But getting Game 1 was critical to the Isles’ pursuit of just their second playoff series win since 1993, and their potential return to our fair borough for the second round.
“We obviously wanted it,” Bailey admitted after stuffing home a rebound off the initial shot by reigning Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal at 4:39 of the extra session.
“It’s one game. There’s still a ways to go, but we’d obviously rather win it than lose it, obviously, and try and get ready for game two.
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