By JUSTIN DEMARCO
Not many people expected the New York Islanders to be playing in May. Even less people expected the Isles to be tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 of the team’s playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Twitterverse was buzzing when the Isles were matched up with the number one team in the Eastern Conference. Hockey fans thought Pittsburgh would dominate New York and people started referring to the Islanders as the #LOLanders (When you consider the organization’s struggles over the past two decades, that’s fair).
— Cecil Hedquist (@dj_ToRMeNTeD) May 2, 2013
— Mrs. Sarcasm (@pitch_slap_) May 2, 2013
The jokes aren’t so funny anymore Penguins fans, are they? Well, I mean, the Oprah one is still pretty clever.
But that’s why playoff hockey is “Must-see TV.” You never know what’s going to happen.
Last year, the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings managed to win the Stanley Cup. I’m not saying the Isles are going to win the Stanley Cup or even win the series, but the Kings proved that a team’s record during the regular season doesn’t mean anything other than whether or not they will have home ice advantage. And if a team is solid on the road, they stand a chance. The Islanders had the fifth-best road record in the entire league (14-6-4), while the Penguins boasted the second-best away record (18-6-0). But as I said, that’s out the window come playoff time.
Clearly both the Penguins and the Islanders are doing everything they can to win the series, but right now it’s all about changes in momentum and which team wants it more.
In Game 4, Brian Strait scored the first goal. 45 seconds later James Neal ruined the celebration at the Coliseum when he received an incredible pass from Evgeni Malkin and beat an out-of-position Evgeni Nabokov. In the second period, Isles captain Mark Streit put the home team ahead 2-1. 58 seconds after Streit’s goal, Malkin responded and tied the game.
Both sides refused to give an inch.
Then the Penguins brought the play to the Islanders. Pittsburgh went up 3-2. And then 4-3. The Islanders followed up each time to tie the game and then went ahead for good midway through the third period when John Tavares scored what turned out to be the game winning goal. Casey Cizikas was able to create a cushion for the Isles with a little more than a minute to go putting the Isles up 6-4. That ended up being the game’s final score.
The difference in Game 4? Butch Goring said it best during tonight’s broadcast, “The Islanders absolutely refuse to quit.”
And that’s why you never count the underdog out, Icemannn.
— Icemannn (@eli__newman) May 2, 2013
Now, as the Islanders prepare to take on the Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center for Game 5, I have to say, the #LOLanders are making the mighty Penguins look silly. And to me, that’s the best joke of the 2013 season, so far.