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Two teams made their first playoff appearances for a long time this week and early on, both clubs showed that experience matters.
The New York Islanders hadn't qualified for the postseason since 2007. Few people expected them to make it this year either. But the Isles surprised everybody and finished eighth in the Eastern Conference.
A total of 12 Islanders players were making their NHL playoff debuts, and it quickly became clear that the Isles didn't know what to expect in a postseason game. Less than two minutes into the game, the Isles were goaded into a retaliatory penalty by Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke. The Pens cashed in the ensuing power play chance and never looked back, cruising to an easy 5-0 victory.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs reached the playoffs for the first time since 2004, ending the longest postseason drought in franchise history.
The Leafs opened their playoff series against the Bruins and were also beaten easily, 4-1. While Toronto did manage to score a goal, and even held a 1-0 lead, they were thoroughly outplayed by the Bruins.
The final shots on goal were 40-20 in favor of Boston. The Bruins also forced the Maple Leafs into taking undisciplined penalties, a total of 32 minutes compared to just eight for Boston.
In the end, both the Leafs and the Islanders now know how different playoff hockey is from the regular season version. How quickly they adjust to the demands of playoff hockey will tell whether they have a chance to win their respective series.