By Allan Muir
The NHL playoffs revolve around the discovery of unlikely heroes. And they don’t come much less likely than Brooks Orpik.
The stay-at-home defender failed to score a single goal during the 48-game regular season. He’d never lit the lamp in 77 postseason contests. But when Tyler Kennedy put one on a tee for him 7:49 into overtime, Orpik blasted a miraculous shot that somehow managed to hit the crossbar and both posts before crossing the goal line to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a series-clinching 4-3 win over the gritty New York Islanders.
Despite being outplayed in every facet of the game by the Isles, the Penguins relied on character and experience to fight back from three deficits before finally ending the season of the gutsy eighth seed.
Fair to say the Isles deserved a better fate. They outshot Pittsburgh 38-21. They outhit the Pens. They crushed them in the face-off circle. But they couldn’t put them away when when they had the chance, and that’s the difference between a team that goes on and a team that goes home.
John Tavares, Colin McDonald and Michael Grabner scored for the Islanders. Jarome Iginla, Pascal Dupuis and Paul Martin also tallied for the Pens, who now move on to face the Ottawa Senators in the second round.
Here are some observations from the game: