Found May 09, 2013 on
New York Islanders
Tomas Vokoun stopped 31 shots in his first playoff start in six years and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Islanders 4-0 on Thursday night in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.
Sidney Crosby, Tyler Kennedy and Douglas Murray scored during a seven-minute stretch in the second period and Kris Letang added a power-play goal in the third as Pittsburgh moved a step closer to advancing to the second round.
The Penguins lead the series 3-2. Game 6 is Saturday in New York.
Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves for the Islanders, but also gave up breakaway goals to Crosby and Kennedy and botched a lazy wrist shot from Murray that gave the Penguins all the offense they would need.
Vokoun was thrust into the lineup after Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma benched Marc-Andre Fleury, who had started 79 straight postseason games but struggled in a 6-4 loss in Game 4. The 36-year-old Vokoun didn't look intimidated by the stage as the Penguins restored a little order to a wide-open series.
The eighth-seeded Islanders looked like the better team through much of the first four games, using their speed to keep the talented but somewhat plodding top-seeded Penguins on their heels.
Bylsma's biggest change was inserting Vokoun in place of Fleury, but he also scratched defenseman Mark Eaton and forwards Jussi Jokinen and Tanner Glass in favor of younger, quicker skaters Simon Despres, Joe Vitale and Kennedy.
The moves paid off handsomely.
New York controlled play for most of a scoreless first period before Kennedy - squeezed out of the rotation by the influx of veterans brought in at the trade deadline - broke through 7:25 into the second.
The play began innocently enough in Pittsburgh's end before Letang hit Kennedy with a sizzling 80-foot stretch pass right up the middle of the ice. Kennedy greedily accepted the puck at New York's blue line, then flipped a wrist shot over Nabokov's glove to give the Penguins the lead.
The score seemed to rattle Nabokov. Murray loped in a lazy wrist shot from the point that Nabokov tried to glove only to have the puck slip out of his left hand, over his back and into the net.
There was nothing fluky about Crosby's third goal of the series, a masterpiece that ranks among the more dazzling plays of his already highlight-heavy career.
The Pittsburgh captain, still wearing a cumbersome mask to protect his broken jaw, took a pass from teammate Jarome Iginla at center ice then effortlessly split New York defenders Lubomir Visnovsky and Thomas Hickey. Crosby crossed the blue line and poked the puck ahead as the defensemen closed in, lifting his stick before stepping through a pair of flailing poke checks.
Nabokov didn't have a chance as the wrist shot zipped over the goaltender's stick to push the lead to 3-0.
The Islanders never recovered, not with Vokoun continuing his mastery over them. When Bylsma announced he was benching Fleury after the Stanley Cup winner's third-straight subpar performance in Game 4, Bylsma pointed to Vokoun's hot hand against New York as proof he was making the right call.
Vokoun went 3-0 against the Islanders during the regular season, stopping 98 of 101 shots. Those numbers only got better. Having the guys in front of him play a bit more responsibly than they did in front of Fleury helped. While Vokoun was kept busy, he was rarely outnumbered as Pittsburgh cut down on the turnovers that led to a seemingly endless flurry of odd-man rushes by the Islanders in Games 2-4.
When New York did manage to get deep, Vokoun didn't budge. The Islanders had their best chances in the first period, but Vokoun was equal to the task, giving the Penguins a chance to find a rhythm.
Nabokov never located one and found himself on the bench when Letang scored on the power play 5:43 into the third period. Backup Kevin Poulin kept the Penguins off the board the rest of the way, and the Islanders will get a chance to regroup at home on Saturday in their bid to win a playoff series for the first time in 20 years.
At least Game 5 is over. New York hasn't won a Game 5 of any playoff series since 1988.
NOTES: New York played without D Andrew MacDonald, who is dealing with an upper body injury. The Islanders also scratched F Marty Reasoner and D Matt Carkner among others ... Kennedy's goal was his sixth winning goal in the postseason, sixth most in Pittsburgh history.
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The Pittsburgh Penguins Tomas Vokoun made 31 saves in his first playoff appearance in six years on Thursday.
His feat lead Pittsburgh to a 4-0 victory over the New York Islanders.
The Penguins goaltending change helped them secure a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Marc-Andre Fleury had struggled for the Penguins after blanking New York in the series...
During the offseason Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero signed goaltender Tomas Vokoun for multiple reasons. For the entire 2011-12 NHL season the Penguins did not have a dependable backup for Marc-Andre Fleury, and when he faltered there was no place to go. This was never more evident than the display put on during the terrible [...]
On Wednesday, after the Pittsburgh Penguins cancelled their previously scheduled “optional” practice, Coach Dan Bylsma announced that Tomas Vokoun would get the start in game five against the New York Islanders. This decision by the Penguins coaching staff, of course, came after the 6-4 loss on Long Island Tuesday evening. It is obvious that Marc-Andre [...]
from Stu Hackel of Sports Illustrated,
The eyes of Pittsburgh -- and the rest of the NHL -- will be trained on the Penguins' goal where Marc-André Fleury won't be standing in the crease when Game 5 of their series against the Islanders begins.
Instead of the athletic 28-year-old Fleury, who has 79 games of playoff experience, two trips to the final round, and a...
Via the Pens.
Vokoun has played 11 career playoff games, all with the Nashville Predators. Game 5 will be his first playoff action since 2007. He has a career .922 save percentage and one shutout in those 11 contests.
Marc-Andre Fleury started the first four games of the series. He went 2-2 with a 3.40 goals-against average, .891 save percentage and one shutout.
The last time Tomas Vokoun started in a playoff game, he was a member of the 2007 Nashville Predators that lost to the San Jose Sharks, tended by Evgeni Nabokov, in the opening round.After Vokoun's performance Thursday night, he has a chance to return the favor to Nabokov on Saturday in Long Island. Vokoun stopped all 31 shots earning his second career playoff shutout, and Sidney...
From the Penguins' Sam Kasan:
Tomas Vokoun will be the Penguins starting goaltender in Game 5 Thursday night against the NY Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center.
“We brought Tomas Vokoun in to play big games for us and be a goaltender we can count on to go in and play big games. He’s done that this year for us,” head coach Dan Bylsma said.
In four games – three...
In the salary-cap era, it seems really strange to have your team's backup goaltender making $2 million a year, especially when your number-one goalie is making $5 million. The summer following Fleury's collapse in the Flyers series, the memory was still fresh on Ray Shero's mind, and he made a move. He traded for Tomas Vokoun and quickly turned around and signed him to...
The entire arena goes black. The music begins to play. Down from the rafters comes Tomas Vokoun to goaltend in the nude with his hands tied behind his back with the intent to stop every puck with his teeth. At least that’s what it sounded like judging by the buzz in social media about Vokoun…
There was a big to-do today regarding the announcement that Tomas Vokoun would replace Marc Andre Fleury in net for the Penguins. The reporters have made a huge deal out of Vokounâs three shut outs this season, one against the Isles on 3/30 (2-0), one against Winnipeg 3/28 and one against the Rangers on 1/31. By the way, they also shut out the Rangers on 3/16 with Fleury...
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury flopped in the playoffs last season, so the team added veteran goaltender Tomas Vokoun.Fleury struggled again this spring, so coach Dan Bylsma replaced him with Vokoun – who brings a modest 3-8 career playoff record into Game 5 against the New York Islanders.“Tomas is capable of being a great goalie for us,” Bylsma told reporters...
On June 4th, 2012, the Penguins traded for and then signed Tomas Vokoun. It was their first roster move since getting beat by the Flyers in the playoffs.
And here he was, 11 months later, standing between the pipes for the biggest game of the season. In front of him was a team searching for confidence. Behind him was a fanbase eating itself in panic and anxiety. And he...
If we are going to win a game it has to be this one. Because if we don't, nothing else really matters except the bottle of Early Times taking up the passenger seat of your truck as you try not to drive the wrong way down the turnpike.
Early on, Brian Strait is still bitter as all **** and attacks someone. The Isles try to get the Pens to attack...
Tyler Kennedy changed EVERYTHING.
HIs goal at the 7:25 mark of the second period got the Pens rolling. Douglas Murray followed up with a goal a minute later, and the Pens snapped out of whatever funk remained from Tuesday night.
Then Sidney Crosby did this:
Letang added a powerplay goal to make it 4-0.
And. oh. by the wa.y Tomas Vokoun shut the door in a stirring...