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The other side: Islanders thinking ‘Game of Thrones’ before coup of Penguins | TribLIVE.com
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The other side: Islanders thinking ‘Game of Thrones’ before coup of Penguins

Tim Benz
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AP Photo
New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner, left, celebrates with Scott Mayfield (24) as Pittsburgh Penguins’ Zach Aston-Reese skates back to his bench after a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of an NHL first-round hockey playoff series in Pittsburgh, Sunday, April 14, 2019.

Penguins fans might have “Game of Thrones” on their minds watching this series against the New York Islanders. Because it has been a massacre akin to “The Red Wedding.”

Apparently, the Islanders players have been thinking about “G.O.T.,” too. Instead of wondering about what a sweep of the Penguins would mean for the development of the franchise, the Isles players aren’t letting those thoughts get in the way of the immediate goal: simply winning Game 4.

Heck, after the team’s win Sunday afternoon, they weren’t even focused on Tuesday night yet. They were simply trying to figure out if their hotel had HBO.

“We’re just going to try to go back to the hotel and maybe catch the ‘Game of Thrones’ premiere tonight,” right wing Cal Clutterbuck said via NHL.com. “We’ll think about Tuesday tomorrow morning.”

Maybe the Penguins should’ve tried Jon Snow on a line with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel instead of Dominik Simon.

Speaking of TV references, the Islanders Twitter account was having some fun with Leo Komarov after his goal against the Penguins yesterday.

Sadly for Pittsburgh faithful, “Uncle Leo” said “hello”to the goal-scoring column for the first time this series.

Islanders fans are showing homage to the wrestling world, too, as their WWE-inspired Daniel Bryan “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chant found its way to PPG Paints Arena yesterday.

Conversely, for Penguins fans, it’s been three games worth of “No, No, No!”

This series has been a surprise for everyone in Pittsburgh and most around hockey. Even the few folks that did pick New York to win weren’t suggesting anything less than a six- or seven-game series. But Islanders’ goalie Robin Lehner said in Newsday that this 3-0 lead shouldn’t be a shock.

“We got 103 points in the standings,” Lehner said. “It can’t be a surprise. This team was no fluke this year. Everyone looks and compares players. I look at our roster and see a lot of really good players and I see a really good organization and great coaching and great defensemen and a lot of heart. So it shouldn’t be a surprise.”

The team itself is boasting about the play of its netminder so far — rightfully so.

That said, New York isn’t acting like a defeat of the Penguins is a fait accompli.

“We’ve come out on the winning end thus far, but it ain’t over yet,” Josh Bailey said in the New York Post. “The last one is going to be the toughest to win. So we have to make sure we’re ready.”

Based on how beaten the Penguins looked at times in the third period Sunday, the Islanders might already be past the Pens at their toughest.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at tbenz@tribweb.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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