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Cullen: Penguins slip past Isles in six games

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Scott Cullen
5/11/2013 11:17:12 PM
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There was only one game in the NHL playoffs Saturday, and the Pittsburgh Penguins escaped with a series win despite getting soundly outplayed in Game Six. Scott Cullen has stats and notes from the Islanders-Penguins series.

Brooks Orpik scored in overtime to give the Penguins a 4-3 overtime win over the New York Islanders, taking the first-round playoff series in six games.

It was Orpik's first goal since November, 21, 2011, against the Islanders. It was his first playoff goal in his 78th career playoff game.

What this series showed, however, was that the Islanders weren't merely trying to hang on and miraculously compete with the top-seeded Penguins. Rather, the Islanders were the team pushing the pace of play more often. In Game Six, the Isles outshot the Penguins 38-21 and for the entire series the Islanders outshot the Penguins by five shots per game (32.8 to 27.8).

Nevertheless, the Penguins earned a top seed during the regular season even though their shot differential was a mediocre +0.8, but a sizzling power play (33.3% vs. the Islanders) helped the Penguins win more than their standard shot differentials would suggest. The Islanders' power play, by comparison, was 2-for-20 (10.0%) in the series.

In the clinching game, Penguins D Paul Martin had a goal and an assist, with a team-high five blocked shots while playing a team-leading 30:03.

The Islanders got a couple of points in Game Six from LW Michael Grabner (1 G, 1 A, +2) and C Keith Aucoin (2 A). LW Josh Bailey led all shooters with six shots on goal.

Islanders LW Matt Martin had 11 hits in 12:00 time on ice in Game Six, giving him a playoff-leading 41 hits through six games.

John Tavares and Mark Streit led the Islanders with five points in six games, while Tavares, Matt Moulson and Travis Hamonic tied with a team-worst minus-4 rating. Bailey and C Frans Nielsen were the most snakebitten Islanders in the series, failing to score despite registering 16 shots on goal.

As might be anticipated, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby were the Penguins' top scorers, with 11 and nine points, respectively, but they had help. RW Jarome Iginla had nine points, RW Pascal Dupuis had five goals and seven points, while defencemen Martin and Kris Letang each had six points. Martin led the Penguins with a plus-5 rating.

The overriding sense of the Penguins' effort in Round One is that they relied on their superior skill too often and it very nearly cost them. They were bailed out by G Tomas Vokoun, who stopped 66 of 69 shots (.957 SV%) in the last two games, but they aren't necessarily going to have a goaltending advantage when they face Craig Anderson and the Ottawa Senators in Round Two.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Brooks Orpik Paul Martin (Photo: Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
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