Was This Supposed to be Easy?
As the Pens approach game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, they find themselves tied at two games apiece against the Islanders, or as The Fans Jim Colony put it this morning, Trailing 2-2. This is a surprise to many. The Pens we're heavily favored to win the Cup going into the playoffs. Not many people gave the Islanders a chance versus the heavily stacked Black and Vegas Gold. A five-game series seemed to be the general consensus. Some people even bravely said four games (I said five, myself). Did people, me included, really think it would be that easy? Below I'd like to throw some numbers at you about the recent history of the Pens and Islanders. This is limited to the Dan Byslma era. The numbers may not mean much in the big picture, but I feel that it illustrates why the Pens should not have been expected to roll through this series.
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First, since Dan Bylsma became the head coach in February 2009, these two teams have played 26 times. The Pens have won 19 of those games for a winning percentage of .730. The Pens have scored 92 goals while the Islanders have tallied 64 (3.64 goals for, 2.46 goals against). Those goal numbers are skewed by some pretty hefty blowouts by the Pens (and a few by the Isles).
In reality, 9 of the games between these two teams have been 1-goal games while 7 of them have been 2-goal games. Thats 61.5% of their games being decided by 2 or less goals. Five of their games have gone to a shootout, while two we're decided during the overtime period. Thats 34.6% of games not being decided in regulation. The Islanders have put up 4 or more goals against the Pens six times. The Pens have done it eleven times.
As I wrote earlier, these numbers may not mean much in the long run, but it gives a little background between these two teams. In addition to contempt, familiarity also breeds close, and often times, high scoring hockey. In hindsight, we probably shouldn't have expected anything less in this series.
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Posted in Sports Post Date 03/11/2017