• Isaac Brendel

Islanders Edge: Pageau, Islanders take game one in Sunday matinee

photo credit: Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders’ quest for their fifth Stanley Cup began on Sunday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After a shaky final month of their regular season and the loss of their captain Anders Lee, many questions loomed about how this group would perform come playoff time. The boys in blue and orange dealt with even more adversity at the beginning of the game when it was announced that Semyon Varlamov, who has been dealing with soreness for a good chunk of time now, would not dress. This left a big task for young Russian phenom goaltender Ilya Sorokin, who took this opportunity and ran with it.

Game one between the Isles and Pittsburgh Penguins was a back-and-forth one from early on. However, 7:58 into the first period, Kyle Palmieri silenced the rowdy Pittsburgh crowd, finding the back of the net on a perfectly placed shot. Jean-Gabriel Pageau (1) and Noah Dobson (1) picked up assists. This lead wouldn’t last long, though, as Frederick Gaudreau netted Pittsburgh’s first goal of the postseason 11:10 into the first. Evan Rodrigues (1) picked up the lone assist on Gaudreau’s tally.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby put his team ahead 2-1 less than four minutes into the second frame, scoring a highlight real tip-in goal.

The Pens had a lead through the first forty minutes, but New York took matters into their own hands in the third frame. Pageau scored his first goal of the playoffs 3:33 into the period on an assist from Scott Mayfield (1). Both teams exchanged chances from there, and New York found the net once again 15:50 in. Anthony Beauvillier (1) and Ryan Pulock (1) set up Brock Nelson, who beat Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry to give New York another lead. Just thirty-one seconds later, Kasperi Kapanen tied the game at three apiece. Jeff Carter(1) and Cody Ceci (1) each picked up helpers. Sorokin and Jarry made a few saves down the stretch to keep the game tied and ultimately send it to overtime.

The extra session was an intense one, where each team created quality scoring chances. The Islanders kept their structure and discipline but were outshot 10-7. Sorokin was solid, and the Islanders got all of their lines rolling.

Palmieri called game 16:30 into the extra session, scoring his second goal of the game and playoffs. Pageau (2) and Oliver Wahlstrom (1) got the assists on the goal. The Isles took game one 4-3.

Overall a great win. The boys in blue and orange stuck with it. As time goes on, they will improve certain things with their game, but Isles head coach Barry Trotz has to be satisfied thus far with his team’s effort.

Game two between these two teams will take place on Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, with puck drop set for 7:30 PM Eastern Time.

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