Discuss: Penguins dominate Islanders 5-0


More than a few people thought that the high-scoring, red-hot New York Islanders might just pose a threat to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their first-round matchups. That gut instinct didn’t look too great after Game 1, which the Penguins won 5-0.

Let’s talk this one up.

  • Marty Reasoner delivered a questionable leg-to-leg hit on Jussi Jokinen (which we’ll feature in video soon enough). Is that suspension-material?
  • Can Evgeni Nabokov bounce back from a notably rough night?
  • Should the Penguins be that much more diligent with Sidney Crosby or merely let him return as soon as the doctors will allow it?
  • Is this a matter of “first game jitters” or an off night or are the Isles in big trouble?
  • Getting more specific, can John Tavares boost the Islanders enough to make this series competitive or will Pittsburgh continue to neutralize the Hart Trophy candidate?
  • Could this win just be evidence that the Penguins are the juggernaut that they looked like despite injuries and lineup changes throughout this season?
  • Marc-Andre Fleury gained his sixth career playoff shutout. Do you expect him to have a strong postseason after struggling mightily at times the last few postseasons?
  • Which East team poses the biggest threat to Pittsburgh? Could it be the Boston Bruins or someone else?
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Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.