The New York Islanders carted their most veteran player, goalie Evgeni Nabokov, to Pittsburgh for the playoffs with 80 games of playoff experience and 37 birthdays behind him.
By 1:51 of the second period, the sun barely set outside Consol Energy Center, and the Penguins had driven Nabokov to the bench.
Nabokov gave up four goals on 15 shots and was replaced by backup Kevin Poulin who gave up one more goal in the Penguins' 5-0 rout.
Coach Jack Capuano said he pulled his veteran to give his team a lift, not because of a poor performance.
"We weren't playing well. I'm not going to leave him out there to hang him out to dry," said Capuano.
"When you make those decisions you try and get your team going a little bit ... it had nothing to do with his performance at all."
Capuano indicated changes to multiple parts of the lineup will be considered after watching game tape.
The Islanders were 8-1-4 in their past 13 games to make the playoffs, and had relied on Nabokov's presence during that stretch.
He was drilled with a slapshot to the forehead by Jerome Iginla just minutes into the game, but appeared to recover and stayed in goal.
Islanders star center John Tavares said his team did not play well enough in front of its goalie.
"He's played phenomenal for us [this season]. We know we didn't play well enough in front of him. We have to be better," said Tavares.
"He wants to be out there playing and contributing. I know it bothers him to not be in the net and he's a great goalie. He'll be ready for next game and we have to be to."
The Islanders trailed by a massive margin less than two minutes into the second period.
Penguins rookie Beau Bennett found a sliver of net off a tough angle to beat Nabokov at 3:30 of the first period on the power play and Pascal Dupuis threw in a rebound at 13:23 to make it 2-0.
In the second period Nabokov faced two shots: both were goals.
Kris Letang made it 3-0 at 1:19 of the second period on the power play and Dupuis backhanded in a rebound with Nabokov at the opposite corner of the crease at 1:51 to make it 4-0.
"I mean, he's a veteran guy. I think you look at his career, his resume and you look at his stats," said Tavares. "He'll be ready to play."
Poulin faced six second-period shots, including one by Tanner Glass, who found his five-hole at 13:07 to run the score to 5-0.
"I didn't really expect the shot from there," said Poulin. "I was taking information, and he caught me taking information. That's all."
It was his playoff debut and came unexpectedly.
"It's different. When you go in mid-period, even mid-game that's the backup's job," said Poulin, who appeared in just five games this year. "You always have to be ready to be mentally in there, even physically.
"It was my first actually playoff game. [It] was exciting. [I was] a little bit nervous at the beginning, but the more the game went on the more was comfortable."
Poulin finished with 10 saves on 11 shots.
Jenn Menendez: email@example.com, 412-263-1959 and Twitter @JennMenendez. First Published May 2, 2013 4:00 AM