PITTSBURGH — The Islanders could have played their last playoff game this season at the Coliseum.
With a 4-1 win over the Penguins in Game 3 of their first-round series Sunday afternoon, the Islanders took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven contest with a chance to sweep in Game 4 on Tuesday night. If they complete the sweep, then they would move on to the second round, where their home games would be played at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, as would be the case for any subsequent rounds.
This was the decision announced by the NHL on Feb. 15, as the club had split its home games between the two venues this season. The difference in revenue is drastic, as the Coliseum is the smallest building in the league and has fewer than 10 luxury suites, while Barclays has around 100. All of the money goes into hockey-related revenue, which then affects all of the league’s financials, including salary-cap settings and players’ escrow.
Despite the Coliseum’s $170 million renovation, the league said that the second-round switch was “reflecting that the Nassau Coliseum does not qualify as an NHL major-league facility.”
The team left the Coliseum, its home since the inaugural season of 1972-73, for Barclays at the start of the 2015-16 season. Yet the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike was packed to the gills with 13,917 for each of the rollicking opening two games of the series.
Winger Jordan Eberle continued his torrid postseason start, scoring his third goal in as many games Sunday and now has five points. It was a big goal, too, tying the game 1-1 on a sharp-angle shot that banked in off goalie Matt Murray, just 28 seconds after the Penguins had taken the lead midway through the first period.
“A lot of times you just get it and try to release it as quick as you can because you know the goalie is coming across,” Eberle said. “I was lucky enough to beat him there.”
Eberle is the first Islander to open a playoff run by scoring in three straight games since Ray Ferraro in 1993 against the Capitals.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby remains without a point in the series, going minus-3 in this game and is now minus-6 on the series.
“The strategy is to stop everyone,” coach Barry Trotz said. “There isn’t any focus on any one particular guy. When you’re on the ice against anyone in this league, you take care of your own business. I think we’ve been doing that.”
The Islanders have led for 85:25 during the series, while the Penguins have held a lead for just 3:17 (with the score tied for 95:55).
The Islanders have had 12 of their 18 skaters collect at least a point Sunday, but center Valtteri Filppula was the only player with more than one, collecting two assists.
Published at Sun, 14 Apr 2019 22:14:01 +0000