Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech have mastered the art of stopping breakaways, blocking shots and shutting down key offensive plays for the Islanders.
Throughout the second-round series against the Boston Bruins, the dynamic duo continues to prove themselves as the most elite defenseman pair in the league.
Matching up with the Pittsburgh Penguins in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was a huge test for the pair. The first couple of games was quiet for both d-men, making stops on Crosby here and there, and controlling other elements of the Pens’ offense. However, Adam Pelech ignited the offensive aggression for the duo in Game 3 with four shots on goal. Pulock followed through with a goal in Game 4 and added on another three shots. He currently leads the league’s defenseman in goals with two.
“I think the defense has the mindset of shooting the puck more,” head coach Barry Trotz said earlier this postseason. “I think the forwards have the mindset of getting to the net a little bit more as well. So it’s important, it’s extremely important to get contributions through your whole lineup, not just your forwards.”
RYAN PULOCK AND WE FINALLY HAVE A GAME 6 GOAL TO GIVE THE ISLANDERS THE LEAD!
— Islanders Videos (@SNY_Islanders) May 26, 2021
Following the Islanders’ 4-3 victory over the Penguins in the first round, the pair continued to make noise. Shutting down Boston’s “Perfection Line,” consisting of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand was the next big test.
Both Pulock and Pelech — who also scored in the defeat — forced some nasty hits in Game 1, but couldn’t generate much success until Game 2.
“It’s a big challenge and it’s fun, for myself, having that role to try to shut them (Perfection Line)down,” Pulock said to New York Post reporter Mollie Walker. “It’s fun for me, and I look forward to that challenge going forward.”
Assisting on Barzal’s late third period goal to force overtime in Game 3 between the Bruins and the Islanders, Pulock passed Gord Lane and tied Dave Langevin for the 7th most career Stanley Cup Playoff points amongst defenseman in franchise history. Soon after the Bruins took the series lead 2-1, Pelech was shown shaking his head with a vengeful smirk across his face.
Pelech retaliated in Game 4, and took his game to the next level. Early in the first period, the defenseman tallied five shots on goal, and executed several hits on star forwards such as Pastrnak and Bergeron. To end the first period, Pelech held Bergeron to one shot on goal and dominated the draws.
Adam Pelech throwing his weight around early at Marchand pic.twitter.com/83mRQXPCdu
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) June 5, 2021
The dynamic duo is only expected to produce more as this series narrows down to the final few games. Both Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock must continue to master their craft, and help extend the Islanders’ run towards the Stanley Cup Semifinals.
Follow Dani on Twitter at @daniraemohr