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5 Keys: Islanders at Penguins, Game 3

New York aims to extend series lead; Pittsburgh looks to break through on home ice

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor


12 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS

New York leads best-of-7 series 2-0

The New York Islanders will try put the Pittsburgh Penguins within one game of elimination when they play Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday.


[RELATED: Complete Islanders vs. Penguins series coverage]


It's the first time the Islanders have led a series 2-0 since they swept the Edmonton Oilers in the 1983 Stanley Cup Final. 

Teams that take a 3-0 lead in a best-of-7 series have a record of 186-4. The San Jose Sharks are the last team to blow a 3-0 lead, doing so to the Los Angeles Kings in the 2014 Western Conference First Round.

The Penguins, who have lost four straight Stanley Cup Playoff games, are trailing 2-0 in a series for the first time since they were swept by the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Eastern Conference Final. Center Sidney Crosby does not have a point.

Here are 5 keys to Game 3:


1. Home, sweet home

The Penguins must be thrilled to be back in Pittsburgh after consecutive losses in New York. Now that they'll have the crowd behind them, it would be beneficial to use the atmosphere to their advantage and score early.

Pittsburgh went 23-14-4 at PPG Paints Arena during the regular season.

"We love playing at home, for sure," Penguins goalie Matt Murray said. "Definitely, the bounces were an adjustment there in that building (Nassau Coliseum). ... For sure, we like playing at home. It's exciting."


2. Keep Sid off the scoreboard

The Islanders have done a masterful job against Crosby, who entered the series with 122 points (39 goals, 83 assists) in 71 games (including playoffs) against them. Through two games this time around, Crosby has been limited to three shots on goal and is minus-1.

Can they keep it going on the road?

"Sid is a fantastic player," New York coach Barry Trotz said. "He's the gold standard when it comes to the game in general. What he's capable of doing, we hope to contain him and do your best. We know he's going to create some things, and [Evgeni Malkin is] going to create some things. That's why they're great players. We're just going to have to do what we do as a group and try to defend and get the big save when we need it and go from there."


3. Get Guentzel going

Crosby isn't the only Penguins player who has yet to produce in this series. Forward Jake Guentzel, who scored an NHL career-high 40 goals during the regular season, also does not have a point. 

Guentzel came into the series with 42 points (23 goals, 19 assists) in 37 NHL playoff games.

"Last game I thought was an improvement from Game 1," Crosby said. "I thought me and [Guentzel] had a couple good looks, had an opportunity to take the puck to the net a few times."


4. Islanders must stay disciplined

New York got Pittsburgh off its game Friday and was rewarded with six power plays (1-for-6); the Penguins went 0-for-2 with the man-advantage. The Islanders offense was stagnant in Game 2, generating 21 shots at 5-on-5, and they know they'll need to continue to stay out of the penalty box Sunday.

"We're just doing what we're doing," Trotz said. "We're playing hard. We've played pretty disciplined all year. That hasn't been a factor. We don't have to prove anything. We know there's a way we have to play and there's a responsibility to every individual that's in that room how you have to respond or not respond, and they've done that. They're trying to get us to react. We're not going to react. Stay the course, that's what we've done all year." 


5. It's quality, not quantity for Penguins

Pittsburgh had 44 shots on goal in Game 1, but that was trimmed to 33 on Friday. But far too many times, Islanders goalie Robin Lehner was allowed to see the shot due to a lack of disruption in front of the net. Other times, New York's stifling defense got in the way before the puck even reached Lehner (32 blocked shots in the series).

"Shots on goal are great, but I think it's just a mindset of taking the puck to the net and taking the shots when they're there," Crosby said. "You have to hit the net. Whether they get blocked or miss the net, things like that happen sometimes. That's what happens in the playoffs when it's tight.

"I think you just want to have the mentality of finishing on net and just taking it yourself or getting the puck there. That's where goals are scored."


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- Mathew Barzal -- Jordan Eberle

Josh Bailey -- Brock Nelson -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Anthony Beauvillier -- Valtteri Filppula -- Leo Komarov

Matt Martin -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk

Adam Pelech -- Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews -- Scott Mayfield

Robin Lehner

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Thomas Hickey, Luca Sbisa, Dennis Seidenberg, Michael Dal Colle, Ross Johnston

Injured: None


Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Dominik Simon

Jared McCann -- Evgeni Malkin -- Phil Kessel

Bryan Rust -- Nick Bjugstad -- Patric Hornqvist

Teddy Blueger -- Matt Cullen -- Scott Wilson

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Jack Johnson -- Justin Schultz

Marcus Pettersson -- Erik Gudbranson

Matt Murray

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Zach Trotman, Olli Maatta, Zach Aston-Reese, Tristan Jarry

Injured: Chad Ruhwedel (upper body)


Status report

The Islanders did not practice Saturday. ... McCann, who did not play in Game 2 because of an upper-body injury, practiced Saturday. He rotated at second-line left wing with Aston-Reese and said he's optimistic he'll play Sunday. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said McCann remains day to day after having "an encouraging day." 

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