Penguins vs. Islanders Game 5 recap: Tomas Vokoun gets shutout, Evgeni Nabokov gets pulled


The Penguins got just what they needed from their goaltending change, pushing the Islanders to the brink of elimination.

After Marc-Andre Fleury had a miserable first four games, the Pittsburgh Penguins turned to Tomas Vokoun to Game 5. The move worked, as Vokoun shut out the New York Islanders 4-0 and the Penguins offense shifted the onus to Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

Nabokov was pulled early in the third period after giving up four goals on 27 shots. Granted two of them were breakaways and one was on a good power play by the Penguins, but Vokoun made saves all night long that Nabokov did not.

And there was also this laugher, a Douglas Murray shot that made it 2-0 for the Penguins:


Nabokov has now given up 20 goals on 131 shots in this series, a performance that not even Fleury would envy.

The game started much more closely, with the Islanders actually outshooting the Penguins 14-7 in the first period. But the Penguins made line and approach adjustments in the second period and took advantage of Islanders defensive lapses and Nabakov's error to open score three goals in the period.

Tyler Kennedy's breakaway on a stretch pass from Kris Letang opened scoring:


Sidney Crosby scored on a breakaway with some nifty moves, just minutes after John Tavares had been stopped by Vokoun on a break-in:


That goal completed a three-goal surge in a 6:35 segment of the second period. When Letang scored on this power play goal early in the third period, it was mop-up time.


The series story now: Pittsburgh appears to have solved its goaltending problem. New York's own problem remains.

To be fair to Fleury, he also shut out the Islanders in Game 1. In fact, Game 5 marked the first time the Islanders have been shutout by two different goalies in the same playoff series since 1975, when Wayne Stephenson and Bernie Parent each earned shutouts as Phialdelphia Flyers.

The Penguins have a 3-2 series lead, with Game 6 Saturday night on Long Island.

Before the game, we posed three questions for Game 5:

So... how's Tomas Vokoun gonna play?

Quite well, thank you. He continued a history of success against the Islanders, raising the question of why the Penguins didn't try him sooner.

How will the Islanders handle the Pens offense without Andrew MacDonald?

The Islanders defense played ... kind of like it played in Game 1, when Crosby was out of the lineup and the Penguins won 5-0. The Isles juggled pairs without MacDonald, using Brian Strait with Travis Hamonic much of the time. But the Islanders' mistakes went beyond the loss of MacDonald.

Can Sidney Crosby keep putting up two points per game?

Why yes, yes he can. Another goal and assist tonight keeps up his incredible pace.

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