3 Keys: Islanders at Penguins, Game 2 of first round


No. 4 Islanders at No. 1 Penguins


New York leads best-of-7 series 1-0

Semyon Varlamov could return for the New York Islanders against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup First Round at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday.

The goalie missed Game 1 out of an abundance of caution, Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. Varlamov, who practiced Saturday after being absent Wednesday and Thursday, practiced again Monday.

Trotz said Varlamov would be available to play Tuesday. He did not disclose if Varlamov or rookie Ilya Sorokin would start.

Sorokin made 39 saves in the Islanders’ 4-3 overtime win in Game 1 on Sunday.

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin will be a game-time decision for the second straight game. Malkin did not play in Game 1 because of an undisclosed injury after practicing Saturday but sitting out line rushes and power-play drills.

Malkin practiced Monday, but again did not take part in rushes or work with the power-play units.

Teams with a 2-0 lead are 330-51 (86.6 percent) winning best-of-7 NHL playoff series, including 4-0 in the first round last season. Teams that go up 2-0 when starting as the road team are 80-20 all-time winning a best-of-7 playoff series.

Here are 3 keys for Game 2:


1. Jarry’s response

Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry made 37 saves in Game 1. It’s how the four goals he allowed were scored that was concerning.

Each of the Islanders’ goals was scored on Jarry’s glove side, and Jarry seemingly had a clear look at the first three.

Jarry did show an ability to shake off disappointing play during the regular season. After allowing six goals in the third period against the New Jersey Devils on April 20, nearly squandering a 6-0 lead in a 7-6 win, Jarry made 30 saves in a 5-1 victory against New Jersey on April 22.

“I think Tristan is in a good spot from a mindset standpoint,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “We’re confident that Tristan will respond and be at his best. Tristan’s played a lot of real good hockey for us, in particular in the second half of this season.”


2. Physicality vs. speed

The Islanders outhit the Penguins 72-47 in Game 1.

Through the first two periods that didn’t seem to have much impact. Pittsburgh led 2-1 after pinning New York in its own zone for lengthy stretches and holding a 26-21 advantage in shots on goal.

The Penguins are built on speed, and used it to help build that 2-1 lead. But by the third period, the Islanders had worn on the Penguins.

New York scored twice to take a 3-2 lead in the third and outshot Pittsburgh 13-6. Kasperi Kapanen tied it 3-3 with 3:39 remaining to send it into overtime, where the Islanders won on Kyle Palmieri‘s second goal of the game.

The Penguins will try to sustain their speed throughout the game Tuesday, but the Islanders likely will try for a repeat of Game 1.

“In terms of adjustments, we try to stay to our game plan each and every night,” Trotz said. “We anticipate a couple of adjustments by them. Hopefully we can counteract them ahead of time. We just have to have a better start.”


3. Turning on the power

The Penguins were 0-for-3 with three shots on goal on the power play in Game 1. When Islanders defenseman Andy Greene was called for interference at 17:46 of the second period, the Penguins’ only shot during the power play came with one second left. A goal there could have given Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead entering the third.

The Islanders went 0-for-2 on the power play. They had a four-minute man-advantage after Jeff Carter went to the box for high sticking at 12:25 of the second. New York had two shots, each coming in the first 27 seconds of the power play.

Either team taking advantage of its chances could be the difference Tuesday.


Islanders projected lineup

Leo KomarovMathew BarzalJordan Eberle

Anthony BeauvillierBrock NelsonJosh Bailey

Kyle Palmieri — Jean-Gabriel PageauOliver Wahlstrom

Matt MartinCasey CizikasCal Clutterbuck

Adam PelechRyan Pulock

Nick LeddyScott Mayfield

Andy Greene — Noah Dobson

Semyon Varlamov

Ilya Sorokin

Scratched: Michael Dal Colle, Ross Johnston, Travis Zajac, Braydon Coburn, Cory Schneider, Austin Czarnik, Andrew Ladd, Kieffer Bellows, Sebastian Aho, Thomas Hickey

Injured: Anders Lee (knee)


Penguins projected lineup

Jake GuentzelSidney CrosbyBryan Rust

Jared McCann — Jeff Carter — Kasperi Kapanen

Jason ZuckerFrederick GaudreauEvan Rodrigues

Zach Aston-ReeseTeddy BluegerBrandon Tanev

Brian DumoulinKris Letang

Mike MathesonCody Ceci

Marcus PetterssonJohn Marino

Tristan Jarry

Maxime Lagace

Scratched: Chad Ruhwedel, Mark Friedman, Juuso Riikola, Colton Sceviour, Sam Lafferty, Mark Jankowski, Radim Zohorna, Yannick Weber, Anthony Angello, Kasper Bjorkqvist, Drew O’Connor, Pierre-Olivier Joseph

Injured: Evgeni Malkin (undisclosed), Casey DeSmith (lower body)


Status report

Trotz said the Islanders forward lines and defense pairs would not change from Game 1. … Dumoulin will be a game-time decision after blocking a shot from Pulock with his skate midway through the third period Sunday. He participated in an optional morning skate Tuesday after taking a maintenance day Monday.

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