clearn.png
Sunday August 1st, 2021 10:40PM

Series now even, Islanders aim to keep Crosby, Pens in check

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The top line of Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust served as the lone constant for the Pittsburgh Penguins during an injury-plagued regular season, one that ended with a sprint to the East Division championship.

The magic the three players created, however, has vanished for long stretches during Pittsburgh's first-round series against the New York Islanders. Crosby has one goal in four games. So does Rust. Guentzel has just a single assist.

If the Penguins want to regain the edge in the series, one of the most productive lines in hockey needs to start looking like it. And Crosby knows it, suggesting it starts by playing Game 5 on Monday night (7 p.m., NBCSN) with the urgency the Islanders showed during a 4-1 victory on Long Island in Game 4.

“With the position that they were in, you knew they were going to fight,” Crosby said. "And I just think that we have to have that same mentality. We can’t wait and see and have that type of approach. We’ve got to go in there and dictate the pace.”

Something New York did from the outset of Game 4 in a performance that brought echoes of their dominant opening-round sweep of Pittsburgh in 2019. The Islanders shut all three players down in the one-sided rout, though Islanders coach Barry Trotz isn't ready to say his team has unlocked the secret to keeping Crosby in particular in check.

“He's dangerous,” Trotz said Sunday. “He's an elite player who plays an elite game night in and night out. We just hope to contain top players like him.”

That hasn't been much of an issue for Trotz each of the past three times he's faced Crosby in the postseason, all three wins by Trotz-led teams.

While Penguins coach Mike Sullivan pointed out ebbs and flows during a series are common, the way New York suffocated Pittsburgh in Game 4 provided a reminder of how difficult the Islanders can make it for opponents when they are playing with an edge.

The teams split a pair of games in Pittsburgh, with New York rookie goaltender Ilya Sorokin getting the victory in the opener. He spent two games on the bench watching veteran Semyon Varlamov struggle only to return with three stellar periods on Saturday.

Expect Sorokin to remain in net going forward. After giving up two goals in the first 24 minutes of Game 1, he's allowed just two over the past 115 minutes in net.

“There's nothing separating the teams,” Trotz said. “It's nose to nose.”

LIGHTNING at PANTHERS, Lightning lead 3-1, 8 p.m. EDT (CNBC)

Tampa took control of the series with a 6-2 victory in Game 4, but it came at a high price. Star Nikita Kucherov left in the third period after getting slashed by Florida's Anthony Duclair and did not return. Defenseman Mikhail Sergachev also absorbed a late hit that left him shaken up.

There's no update on either player's availability for Game 5,

Lightning coach Jon Cooper insisted he doesn't have a problem with a physical team attempting to send a message with their play as long as it's within the parameters of the game. His issue is when the referees can't seem to keep things in check, which he hinted is what happened in Game 4.

“But if it’s not controlled, stuff like this happens ... and you have superstars lying on the ice hurt and at times it’s tough,” Cooper said. “But you want passion in the game, I loved it, but now your skewed on what you are allowed to do and what you are not allowed to do. ... it just can be frustrating.”

Florida needs three consecutive wins to avoid another first-round playoff exit and seeing its playoff-series drought extend to at least 2022. The Panthers haven’t won a series since the 1996 Eastern Conference finals.

“We just need a bounce-back,” Florida forward Noel Acciari said. “It’s do-or-die time and we’ve just got to leave it all out on the ice. Everyone in the locker room knows that. We’re not out of this, and we know that.”

WILD at GOLDEN KNIGHTS, Golden Knights lead 3-1, 10:30 p.m. EDT (CNBC)

Alex Tuch has three goals in four games for the Golden Knights against the team that drafted him in the first round in 2014, only to trade him three years later in an expansion draft swap so the Wild could protect other players. Tuch has 18 goals in 51 career playoff games.

Since dealing Tuch, the Wild have only won three games over three playoff series and are now on the verge of elimination again.

Tuch scored Vegas’ second goal in Game 4, surging up the ice and slicing between Wild defensemen Jared Spurgeon and Matt Dumba en route to the net where he deked Cam Talbot and went right to dump in the puck.

“It’s definitely a weapon for sure. Not too many guys can skate at that speed and make kind of those plays,” captain Mark Stone said. “It looked very simple, but I can’t say I’ve ever been at that speed.”

MAPLE LEAFS at CANADIENS, Series tied at 1 (7 p.m., NHL Network)

Now that the shock of John Tavares’ injury early in Game 1 has worn off, the Maple Leafs are trying to rally around their captain’s absence and get contributions up and down the lineup. Four different Toronto players scored on Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, and that kind of depth on offense will be needed with the series shifting to Montreal.

“Any time your leader goes down, it’s a reality check,” said defenseman Zach Bogosian, who won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay last year when captain Steven Stamkos missed all but one period of the playoffs with an injury.

“Everyone has to step up. Everyone has to do their job. You can't replace John from a leadership standpoint, but you can have guys step up and take on bigger roles and it gives guys opportunities to maybe be in a situation that they wouldn’t have been.”

Edmonton visits Winnipeg in Game 4 of their North Division first-round series (9:45 p.m., NBC Sports Network), going back-to-back in the series after Game 3 Sunday night.

___

AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell in Minneapolis, AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno in Washington, D.C. and AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Hockey, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Mickelson with consecutive bogeys at PGA
Phil Mickelson is once again giving away his big lead at the PGA Championship
6:16PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Suns win in return to playoffs, beating Lakers 99-90
Devin Booker scored 34 points, Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 16 rebounds and the Phoenix Suns won their first playoff game in 11 years, beating the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers 99-90 in Game 1 on Sunday
6:14PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Series now even, Islanders aim to keep Crosby, Pens in check
The New York Islanders have evened their series with Pittsburgh by keeping Penguins star Sidney Crosby in check
6:04PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Advantage Mickelson at the PGA Championship
Phil Mickelson moved back in front after a birdie at the par-5 seventh hole at the PGA Championship
4:32PM ( 1 hour ago )
Dixon knocks two budding young stars from Indy 500 pole
Scott Dixon slammed the brakes on IndyCar’s current youth movement by winning his fourth Indianapolis 500 pole by a mere 0.03 seconds in qualifying
4:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: PGA Championship swings again with tie for lead
Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka are tied for the PGA Championship lead after six holes in the final round at Kiawah Island
4:12PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Sorokin, Islanders beat Penguins 4-1 in Game 4 to tie series
Ilya Sorokin stopped 29 shots, Oliver Wahlstrom and Ryan Pulock each had a goal and an assist and the New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 in Game 4 Saturday to even the first-round series
1:24AM ( 17 hours ago )
Killorn, Kucherov pace Lightning's 6-2 rout of Panthers
Alex Killorn scored a pair of second-period goals and the Tampa Bay Lightning rebounded from its first postseason loss to rout the Florida Panthers 6-2 and take a commanding 3-1 lead in the first-round Central Division playoff matchup
6:05PM ( 1 day ago )
Tavares has concussion, knee injury; likely to miss series
Toronto captain John Tavares is probably going to miss the rest of the Maple Leafs’ first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens after sustaining a concussion and a knee injury in Game 1
4:08PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Hockey
Last cat out of the Tiger King Park bag as seizure completed
Federal officials have removed the last of the 68 big cats from the private zoo in Oklahoma that had been the center of the “Tiger King” saga
2:53PM ( 3 hours ago )
Italy Eurovision winners return home to cheers, a drug test
The Italian glam rock band that won the Eurovision Song Contest has returned home to adulation and so much speculation that the  singer had snorted cocaine during the show that he vowed to take a drug test
12:43PM ( 5 hours ago )
Berlin's nightclubbers sip their drinks, await better times
Berlin's renowned nightclubs are reopening along with pubs and restaurants
11:47AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Column: Tim Tebow's reality show heads back to the NFL
Maybe Colin Kaepernick should learn to play tight end
3:32PM ( 2 days ago )
Steven Soderbergh's 'No Sudden Move' to premiere at Tribeca
The Steven Soderbergh crime drama “No Sudden Move,” a film shot last year with safety protocols in the midst of the pandemic, will premiere as the centerpiece gala at the Tribeca Film Festival next month
9:01AM ( 3 days ago )
Fresh Fleury gives Golden Knights big boost vs. Wild
Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has stopped 63 of 65 shots from the Minnesota Wild over the first two games of their West Division playoff series
6:51PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Online TV News
The Latest: Mickelson with consecutive bogeys at PGA
Phil Mickelson is once again giving away his big lead at the PGA Championship
6:16PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Suns win in return to playoffs, beating Lakers 99-90
Devin Booker scored 34 points, Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 16 rebounds and the Phoenix Suns won their first playoff game in 11 years, beating the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers 99-90 in Game 1 on Sunday
6:14PM ( 13 minutes ago )
The Latest: Koepka struggles on par 5s at PGA Championship
Brooks Koepka only has to look at the Ocean Course's par 5s to see what went wrong in the final round of the PGA Championship
5:51PM ( 37 minutes ago )
National Guard mission to provide security ending at Capitol
National Guard troops are set to leave the U.S. Capitol and turn over security of the area to Capitol Police
5:47PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Suns' Paul dealing with shoulder injury vs. Lakers
Phoenix Suns All-Star point guard Chris Paul is dealing with a right shoulder injury during his team’s playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday
5:43PM ( 44 minutes ago )