Pittsburgh, PA —If the Penguins want to stay alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they have to get better goalie play from Tristan Jarry.
Jarry bounced back from a poor outing to stop 39 shots, and the Pittsburgh Penguins tied their first-round playoff series with the Islanders in a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena.
The Pittsburgh goalie gave up four goals in the Stanley Cup Playoff opener, picking up his first playoff win of his career as the Penguins won for just the second time in its last 12 postseason games.
Jarry was lights out around the pikes and he was very active around the ice in a game the Penguins needed badly.
“That’s the Tristan Jarry we all know and love,” Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson said. “He was making big save after big save. That’s his game. That’s what we expect from him. I don’t think it was anything out of the ordinary for him, as crazy as that sounds. He plays at such a high level. For us to call that his norm, it’s pretty impressive.”
The Penguins came set the tone of game early. Brandon Tanev scored just 81 seconds in when he put forward Brock Nelson on his tail with a huge hit. Bryan Rust and Jeff Carter further got into the action as well with early goals, two of the 19 shots that Pittsburgh rocketed at goalie Semyon Varlamov in the first period. The Penguins was up quickly 2-0.
The Penguins had to be feeling pressure. They blew a third-period lead Sunday after going 25-1-1 when they led after two periods during the regular season. Pittsburgh had lost 10 of their previous 11 postseason games.
Just as they did on Sunday, however, the Islanders appeared to find their legs as things wore on. A pair of listless Pittsburgh power plays in the second period gave New York life, and Bailey ripped a backhand over Jarry’s shoulder 14:46 in to draw the Islanders within one, just as they were entering the third period in the opener.
Pittsburgh made sure there would be no third-period rally. The Penguins withstood an early push by the Islanders and kept the pressure on to avoid falling into a potentially 0-2 hole.
Jarry was at his best right after Bailey’s goal, stopping all five shots he faced in the final 5-plus minutes of the second period. He had 10 more saves in the third, including one on winger Oliver Wahlstrom with 1:12 left when New York had a 6-on-4 advantage. They pulled Varlamov when Rust was penalized for closing his hand on the puck, “a mental error,” as he called it. Penguins penalty-killers Carter, Zach Aston-Reese, Brian Dumoulin and Cody Ceci did a terrific job in front of their goalie, limiting the Islanders to just that Wahlstrom shot in the final 1:28 of the game.
“He’s been a big part of the success this team has enjoyed to this point,” Mike Sullivan said. “Our players, our coaching staff, our management team, we have the ultimate faith in Tristan. He’s a terrific goaltender. There was no doubt in my mind he was going to come back and have a solid effort.”