UNIONDALE, N.Y. – For all of their hard work in Games 2 and 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Islanders still couldn’t find a way to shut down Sidney Crosby.
Pittsburgh’s captain missed the series opener due to the broken jaw he suffered in a game against New York on March 30. But Crosby had two first-period goals in Game 2, just hours after being cleared to play, then set up three goals – including the overtime winner – in Pittsburgh’s 5-4 victory Sunday.
The Islanders know they can’t let Crosby continue to pile up points if they hope to win the series. But knowing that they need to shut him down and doing it are two different things.
“We have to be aware of him on the ice,” Islanders forward Kyle Okposo said after practice Monday. “He’s hurt us the past couple of games. We have to know where he is at all times and try to play him hard, try to finish our checks.
“We know that he’s going to create opportunities, he’s going to have chances. We have to accept that and make sure those second and third opportunities aren’t there. We’re going to try to take away some of his time and space.”
The Islanders aren’t having any more success against Crosby in the playoffs than they’ve had in the regular season. In 41 games against New York, he has 20 goals and 75 points.