PITTSBURGH, PA – Thanks to Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry’s giveaway early in the second overtime, the New York islanders are on the verge of eliminating Sidney Crosby and the East Division champion Pittsburgh penguins for the second straight season.
Jarry, whose mishandling of the puck in the Penguins zone, would be buried behind him by Islanders center Josh Bailey 51 seconds in, thus putting New York on the verge of advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In a game in which the Penguins dominated in outshooting the Islanders 50-28, rookie goaltender, Ilya Sorokin, looked and played brilliant in stopping 48 shots and frustrating the likes of Crosby and fellow countryman Evegeni Malkin all night.
Just 25, Sorokin, who stepped in for veteran Semyon Varlamov in Game 1, got the start in Game 4, and has proved to be a Tetris puzzle that the high-powered Penguins can’t solve, as he has allowed just three goals over the last seven-plus periods.
With a chance to close out Pittsburgh on Long Island, the four-time Stanley Cup champions can draw on their long and storied history of winning in eliminating an ancient foil.
In an exclusive Betway interview with New York Islanders legends Clark Gillies and Bobby Nystrom discuss the details of what went into ‘The Dynasty’ – from their playoff disappointment in 1979, to the acquisition of Butch Gohring, their team chemistry and the importance of Al Arbour.
In the interview, both Gillies and Nystrom talk about their experiences in playing with the likes of Mike Bossy and Denis Potvin. When asked about when it became apparent that the Isles were capable of winning the Cup, Nystrom stated, “It became apparent when we won the Stanley Cup [laughs]. You know what, we had a couple of teams in 1978 and 1979 that we really thought we were right there at that point, especially in ’79 when we won the Presidents’ Trophy. We thought we were on our way, but the playoffs are so totally different.
I would have to say when we got [Miracle on Ice defenseman] Kenny Morrow and [trade acquisition] Butch Goring, I think that really solidified our team. At that point, I thought we could have a run at it.”
Gillies would add in arguing with his former teammate, “I agree totally with Bob, it was a real learning process for us. It took losing those two years against Toronto and the Rangers. It took losing to help us figure out what we needed to do to put the effort in to win.
One of the things we were missing in ’78 and ’79 was that physicality. Facing the Bruins in the second round in 1980, that’s when we really woke up. Everyone was picking the Bruins to outmuscle us and intimidate us. I think we showed them in a big way that we weren’t going to be pushed around in 1980. It springboarded us to beat the Flyers in the finals and I think from that point on, we had the respect of everyone in the league.”
Depending what happens Wednesday evening at Nassau, the Islanders have the depth, experience and winning culture to draw upon thanks to the likes of Nystrom, Gillies, Potvin and Bossy to make a deep run in the playoffs, and possibly bring home the franchise’s fifth Cup.