- Marc-Andre Fleury looked distracted and slow in the Penguins 6-4 loss in game 4. Backup Tomas Vokoun was an absolute wall, by contrast. Vokoun made very few spectacular diving upside-down Spider-Man saves in Game 5, but he never got so far out of position that he was forced to do such nonsense.
- This raises the question* of which goaltender the Penguins will start Saturday night in New York. Either man can do the job, but I feel like Vokoun's performance last night elevates him to the starting spot for the rest of the Islanders series.
- It's fascinating to me that when this series was 2-2, Penguins fans were in a despair spiral and Islanders fans were thrilled.
- MODOK-faced Penguins defenseman Doug Murray scored his third goal in 11 games last night on a fluke that bounced off of Nabokov's shoulder and into the net. Before his current torrent of offensive output, Murray hadn't scored in 146 games.
- Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy - who I believe may be the least-attractive man in professional sports - has an unfortunate tendency: When he receives the puck he drives it straight toward the goal and shoots. No subtlety, no style, just drive-and-shoot. It works OK for the dude but isn't highlight-reel hockey. Well, last night, Kennedy's style was precisely what was called for. With the game tied 0-0 in the 2nd period, Kennedy was hanging out on the Islanders' blue line and received a long lead pass from Kris Letang. Kennedy drove the puck up the ice, went against Islanders' goaltender Evgeni Nabokov one-on-one, and put the puck over Nabokov's right shoulder for what turned out to be the only goal the Pens would need.
- There's a statue in front of the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, of Mario Lemieux splitting two Islanders defensemen on his way to a goal in a meaningless December 1988 game against the Islanders. Sidney Crosby last night replicated that goal in a far more meaningful game against the same squad. He received a good lead pass from Jarome Iginla and beat Islanders defensemen Visnovski and Hickey, powering his way to the Pens' third goal.
Game 6 -- decisive for the Pens if they win it -- will be Saturday night on Long Island. The winner of this series will face the Ottawa Senators.
* it does not "beg" the question. "Begging the question" means something else entirely.