Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby was not cleared to play and the Islanders Matt Martin delivered his normal intimidating hits throughout, but neither mattered as the Eastern Conference champions dominated the 8-seed trying to win their first playoff series in 20 years. The Penguins knocked goalie Evgeni Nabokov out of the game with four goals in the first 22 minutes of action.
The Penguins won 5-0. Their only loss was Jussi Jokinen, who went down on a late knee-to-knee hit in the closing three minutes on a hit by Marty Reasoner – who received a five minute major and game misconduct.
The Penguins wasted no time showing why they have played in 70 playoff games since the Islanders last played one. The Islanders had to chase the Penguins from the beginning, and Brian Strait took down Matt Cooke early to set up the first powerplay of the game just 1:40 into the first period.
During the power play, the Penguins peppered the Islanders defense with six shots – the fifth a vicious slapshot by Paul Martin from 56 feet that hit goalie Evgeni Nabokov in the head and dazed him. Immediately thereafter, Beau Bennett put a wrist shot past Nabokov to make it 1-0 just 3:30 into the game. Nabokov never looked right after that, giving up three more goals in the next 18 minutes of action to give the Penguins a 4-0 lead.
Matt Martin laid three hits on the Penguins early, but he may have been overly aggressive on a hit 13 minutes into the first period. He was actually not credited for a hit on a vicious check on Paul Martin, who got the puck ahead just before the hit. The Penguins raced down on a 3-on-3 and Craig Adams and Jarome Iginla put consecutive wrist shots on Nabokov. While he blocked both shots, Nabokov still looked dazed, skating out several feet from the goal and allowing Pascal Dupuisto to loop the puck around him with a backhand behind him to make it 2-0.
The Islanders continued to look like they were playing in slow motion compared to the Penguins. Late in the period a chip pass ahead allowed Brandon Sutter to race past Streit, who had to commit his second hold of the game by wrapping Sutter up to prevent a breakaway attempt.
The resultant Penguins power play increased to a five-on-three power play early in the second period, and Kris Letang capitalized 1:19 in the period, and just 32 seconds later Dupuis scored his second of the game after killing the Islanders for five goals during the season.
The only silver lining for the Islanders was that after trailing 4-0 they could give Nabokov the final 38 minutes off. Kevin Poulin, who has never played more than NHL games in a season, including going 1-3 this year, made some saves before doing a poor job of guarding his right post, which let Jussi Jokinen sneak it in for a 5-0 lead in the second period.