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Islanders vow not to let up against Penguins in Game 3

Expect pushback with Pittsburgh going home trailing series 2-0

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- Barry Trotz could easily remind his New York Islanders of the position he was in one year ago, when everyone thought the Washington Capitals he was coaching were doomed after losing the first two games to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

We know what happened next: The Capitals won the next four games and went on to win their first Stanley Cup championship. 

The Islanders were watching and know what happened. So despite taking a 2-0 lead against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round that shifts to PPG Paints Arena for Game 3 on Sunday (noon ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS), they're aware this series is far from over. 

 

[RELATED: Complete Islanders vs. Penguins series coverage]

 

"There's no speech," Trotz said Saturday before departing for Pittsburgh. "We're all aware of all the stuff that happened, so there's no speeches. We look at it as, 'We've got to get the next game.' We know.

"The series is far from over. We're just worrying about trying to get another game. That's all your focus should have to be on."

The Islanders fared well on the road during the regular season (24-14-3) and split two games in Pittsburgh early on. This will be their first trip there since a 6-2 loss on Dec. 6. 

"I think we're actually a lot calmer on the road than we are at home," Trotz said. "That's the way I've felt all year. We're a real good road team because of the fact that we weren't trying to put on a show, we were just doing our thing. We've had some of our best games all year on the road."

Video: Coaching leads the Islanders to a 2-0 series lead

Trotz was obviously encouraged following a 3-1 win in Game 2 on Friday. It was more of a prototypical Islanders win from the regular season: Grind the opponent down, limit quality chances against, capitalize in the offensive end when they make a mistake. 

It was a far cry from the 4-3 overtime win in Game 1, when Pittsburgh had 44 shots on goal and forced New York to play more of an up-and-down style.

"All year, we've had to do it different ways," Trotz said. "We've sort of adjusted and we don't get rattled with things that come our way. We've seen lots this year. The group trusts in each other. That's where it starts. We trust everybody's going to do their job. When you do, you've got layers and you've got support."

Penguins fans will be put to the test in Game 3 to try to match the Nassau Coliseum crowd that witnessed the Islanders opening a playoff series at home for the first time since 1988. Trotz, who played at Pittsburgh the past three playoffs with Washington, said he knows what to expect. 

"It's a great atmosphere; I've had a lot of playoff games [in Pittsburgh]," Trotz said. "Pittsburgh's a great hockey city. The fans are passionate, and it's a great atmosphere. 

"They're going to have a push; they've had a push every game, just as we've had a push. The playoffs are about sustaining those storms or weathering those storms, and they're going to come. It's just weathering them and making sure you're reacting on the right side, and hopefully you get a save here and there or the big play." 

The Islanders have gotten the saves they've needed thus far from goalie Robin Lehner, who has allowed four goals on 77 shots through the first two games. 

Video: PIT@NYI, Gm2: Lehner makes glove save on Kessel

They've also managed to shut down Penguins center Sidney Crosby, who has 113 points (36 goals, 77 assists) in 66 regular-season games against New York but does not have a point in this series and has three shots on goal. 

The Islanders know Crosby is capable of breaking out on any shift; that's why there's no reason to celebrate just yet.

"We have a lot of hockey still to play," New York center Casey Cizikas said. "We're going to continue trying to play hard and playing Islander hockey."

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