Penguins vs. Islanders Game 5 Update: Tomas Vokoun stops 14 in first period


Vokoun had 14 first-period saves, which was very un-Fleury of him.

There is no score after the first period of Game 5 in Pittsburgh, which tells you the Penguins' decision to start Tomas Vokoun over Marc-Andre Fleury has already paid off. Vokoun stopped 14 first-period shots as the New York Islanders continued to try to clog the neutral zone and take advantage of turnovers.

Vokoun, starting his first game this series after a disastrous first four games for Fleury, did a good job directing Islanders shots to the corners and preventing rebound opportunities.

While the Islanders had the majority of the shots, the Penguins on their seven shots arguably had more dangerous ones in close around Evgeni Nabokov. Still, the period was more careful and strategic than the 21 total shots would indicate. (And including blocked and wide shots, the total recorded attempts were a more even 21-20.)

The teams engaged in some routine playoff rough stuff, but nothing too violent or noteworthy. There was this encounter between Penguins star Sidney Crosby and Islanders fourth-liner Matt Martin though:


The other story lines entering the game related to other lineup changes, some by force and some by coach's decision.

The Islanders, playing without top minute muncher Andrew MacDonald after he broke his hand in Game 4, inserted Thomas Hickey and Radek Martinek into the lineup. Matt Carkner was a healthy scratch.

Possibly nodding to the dropoff in size with those two moves on the blueline, the Islanders inserted big winger Jesse Joensuu in place of David Ullstrom. Joensuu got involved in an early scrum that produced no penalties.

Meanwhile, the Penguins not only changed starting goalies but also inserted defenseman Simon Despres and forwards Joe Vitale and Tyler Kennedy into the lineup, presumably to increase their own team speed given how the Islanders have rushed them. Vitale's speed paid off early, as he drew an early interference penalty on a dump-in where Brian Strait bumped him too late for the referee's liking.

But the Islanders killed that power play, and the Penguins killed the Islanders' lone power play a few minutes later, leaving the teams scoreless after one.

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