The New York Islanders are now in complete control of their Round 1 series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
They were able to take a 2-0 series lead on Friday night with a convincing — and at times dominant — 3-1 win that saw them completely shut down and frustrate the Penguins.
It was the second game in a row that each of them scored a goal, with Eberle’s goal midway through the third period on a slick shot off the rush, going in the books as the game-winner.
The Penguins actually struck first to take their first lead of the series when Erik Gudbranson blasted a slap shot past Islanders goalie Robin Lehner midway through the second period. That lead would be short-lived, however, as the Islanders responded just three minutes later to tie the game, taking advantage of Gudbranson and Marcus Pettersson on an odd-man rush.
Other than Gudbranson’s goal chances were few and far between for the Penguins as they looked like a frustrated and flustered team for the second game in a row. Their inability to smoothly exit the defensive zone has been a constant problem over the first two games, and they have not yet been able to sustain any sort of consistent presence in the offensive zone.
With two games at home upcoming and a roster that has championship experience it is still too soon to totally count them out, but there was nothing over these first two games to indicate they are capable of winning four of the next five playing the way they have.
They are going to need a complete 180 from just about everyone on the roster starting in Game 3 on Sunday if they are going to get back in this series.
Game 3 of Penguins-Islanders will be on Sunday at 12 p.m. ET on NBC