Islanders Complete Series Sweep of Sidney Crosby, Penguins with 3-1 Game 4 Win

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2019

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 16: Jordan Eberle #7 of the New York Islanders celebrates with Mathew Barzal #13 after scoring a goal during the first period in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on April 16, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Justin Berl/Getty Images

The New York Islanders are into the second round after completing their sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

New York closed out the first-round series with a 3-1 Game 4 road win at PPG Paints Arena, just the organization's second series win in the last 25 years.

Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey scored for the Islanders, while Robin Lehner totaled 32 saves in the win, causing the Penguins to suffer their first opening-round sweep since 1972.

Sidney Crosby had an assist in the loss but finished the playoffs with just one point in four games.

       

Islanders' Confidence Will Carry Them to Deep Playoff Run

There were a lot of important plays throughout Game 4, but the tone was set in the first few minutes.

Jake Guentzel gave Pittsburgh a lead with a goal after just 35 seconds of play, which sent the arena into a frenzy.

However, it took less than two minutes for Eberle to answer:

This quickly changed the momentum of the game and showed that the Islanders were not afraid of their competition:

At the end of the first period, Nelson scored to give his team a lead and once again destroy the confidence of the home crowd:

Although Pittsburgh had plenty of quality scoring chances down the stretch, the visiting team never let up defensively. Bailey's open-net score in the final minute then sealed the victory in the game and the series.

The Islanders had more points than their opponent this season, but many came into the series expecting a Penguins victory.

Pittsburgh recently won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles with many of the same players still on the roster, and this is the 13th straight year in the postseason. Conversely, New York entered with minimal playoff experience and few stars who match up to big names like Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

However, the Islanders sent a message with two home wins to begin the series and kept it going with another impressive effort in Game 3 on the road. With one final win Tuesday, it was clear experience was not a problem.

Mathew Barzal was competing in his first postseason but tallied five assists in four games. Lehner had never made a playoff start before this series yet closed out the series with just one goal allowed in each of the last three games.

Eberle had his first career playoff goal in Game 1 and followed it up with scores in each of the next three games.

With outstanding depth and an elite defense that allowed the fewest goals in the NHL this season, this was already a team to fear. Adding in the confidence showed in this sweep over a talented opponent, the Islanders don't seem like they are anywhere close to finished.

Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan broke down the challenge for the next opponent:

The Eastern Conference is wide open with the Tampa Bay Lightning being eliminated by the Columbus Blue Jackets, and New York has a chance to shock nearly everyone and make a run to the Stanley Cup Final.

    

What's Next?

The Islanders will now try to keep the momentum going in the Eastern Conference Semifinal against either the Washington Capitals or the Carolina Hurricanes.

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