Much like they were in their Game 2 loss in Pittsburgh last Friday night, the Penguins were again outplayed in Game 3 in New York Sunday afternoon by the Islanders, the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, but like a lot of super-talented sports teams, Pittsburgh was able to survive in overtime and take a 2-1 lead in the first round series.
Tuesday night, in Game 4 at New York's Nassau Coliseum, the Penguins look to take a strangle-hold on the series.
The Islanders are young, upstart and talented, and they may have dictated the play in the last two games, but like a lot of upstart teams new to the playoff scene, another loss before the home crowd (New York has dropped seven straight home games, dating back to before the last time they made the playoffs in '07) would put their chances of advancing on life-support, with Game 5 in Pittsburgh Thursday night.
As for the Penguins, the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, they've suffered three straight early round exits to lower seeds--including two straight first round losses to the Lightning and Flyers, respectively--and a loss in Game 4 could severely damage the team's (and fans') psyche.
Many people think Pittsburgh is built to win the Cup, but a loss to the Islanders would make a lot of fans fearful that the team isn't even built to get out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.