It’s safe to say that the Pittsburgh Penguins are not happy about being down 2-0 to the New York Islanders. This became evident in the waning seconds of their 3-1 loss that took place in front of a raucous crowd at Nassau Coliseum on Friday. Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin started to goon things up a bit with a cross-check to the back of Scott Mayfield as he was jostling for the puck on the boards. Brock Nelson was not about to allow that kind of shit to happen to a teammate and started getting into it with Malkin. Shortly after, Mayfield popped over to the Malkin-Nelson fight and got a hit on the Penguin for himself. Once the final buzzer went off, a bit of a scuffle broke out.
The Penguins have every reason to be mad about their recent performances. The loss in Game 1 happened after sloppy defense allowed Josh Bailey to more or less score on an empty net. In this loss, Pittsburgh held a lead for all of three minutes before New York was able to tie things up at one goal a piece. Two methodical goals that carved up the Penguins’ attempts at defense soon followed. Pittsburgh also experienced twice as many calls as New York did which, justified or not, is a good way to push a player’s composure over the edge. Of course, the Penguins could probably have done better to at least pretend they’re not frustrated to high hell, but with the Islanders backing them into a corner, it’s not like they have many options left to begin with.
There’s also some notable history with the position that both teams are currently in. The last time the Penguins were down 2-0 in a series was in 2013, when the Boston Bruins swept them in the conference finals. A good portion of this aging Pittsburgh roster actually experienced that series. As for the Islanders, this is the first 2-0 series lead the franchise has had in the playoffs since 1983—a year that none of the players on New York’s roster were alive for.