In the end, Game 1 boiled down to one simple truth: The Pittsburgh Penguins have been here before and the New York Islanders have not. The result was a 5-0 lesson in playoff hockey by the Pens on Wednesday night.
The game didn't get off to a great start for New York. Jarome Iginla hounded Evgeni Nabokov for the first few minutes and managed to fire a shot right off his face. The shot dazed Nabby, and he was off of his game from then on:
The Penguins made it look easy at times, as Islanders defenders were caught out of position and just failed to keep up with the Pittsburgh attackers. Want statistical proof? The scoring chances were 21-9 in favor of Pittsburgh. There's your statistical proof.
It's not all gravy for the Penguins, however. James Neal left the game and didn't return after taking this hit in the second period:
1. How will the Penguins perform without Crosby?
Just fine, thank you. Moving on...
2. How will Tavares fare in his first NHL Playoff game?
It was a struggle. He's the best player on the Isles and was treated as such by Pittsburgh, as the Pens suffocated him defensively and was held without a shot on goal. He'll have to find a way to adapt if he wants to help his team.
3. How will Marc-Andre Fleury perform?
He didn't have to be spectacular; just solid. That he was, stopping all 26 shots he faced.