Oct 27, 2011

Recap: Penguins - 3, Islanders - 2

The Pittsburgh Penguins (8-2-2) defeated the New York Islanders (3-4-1) by a score of 3-2 in a shootout at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Thursday. The Islanders have now winless in their last four games.

(G, A)

1st Period: 
NYI: 1, PIT: 0 - Frans Nielsen (2); Kyle Okposo (2), Mark Streit (6)
2nd Period:
3rd Period:
NYI: 2, PIT: 0 - Matt Martin (1); Steve Staios (1), Marty Reasoner (1)
NYI: 2, PIT: 1 - Chris Kunitz (3); Pascal Dupuis (6), Kris Letang (8)
NYI: 2, PIT: 2 - James Neal (9); Chris Kunitz (3), Evgeni Malkin (4)
Letang - Save
Nielsen - Save
Malkin - GOAL
Parenteau - Miss
Neal - Miss
Tavares - Save


Marc-Andre Fleury - 17 saves on 19 shots, .895 SV PCT
Evgeni Nabokov - 30 saves on 32 shots, .938 SV PCT

Final Score: 3-2 Pittsburgh
Attendance: 18,461


- Not a bad road effort for the Islanders, but the team cannot be blowing 2-0 leads in the third period. The Isles needed this game to get back to .500 and stop their three game losing streak. While it is nice they got a point, their winless streak now reaches four games and shades of last year are undoubtedly appearing in the players' minds. They will have to nip this in the behind on Saturday before they fall into a similar trap as last season. While it is still not the time to panic by any stretch, there is reason to be concerned. A good effort and win on Saturday should erase all of that.

- A weird moment after the 65 minutes of hockey as the Isles opted to pull Evgeni Nabokov, who had played exceptionally well for Rick DiPietro as the shootout began. DiPietro did well in relief, stopping 2/3 breakaways, but was awarded an overtime loss for his efforts. Certainly, Jack Capuano did not look all too happy about the situation during his post game interview. It will be interesting to see what actually happened there. That said, any hatred or criticism towards DiPietro has no viability. There is nothing about this game that is his fault, especially because he put forth a good effort coming in cold.

- The Isles fourth line of Matt Martin, Marty Reasoner, and Jay Pandolfo was the best line tonight. They played great two way hockey and were finally rewarded with a goal, as Martin scored his first of the season of a nice garbage goal in front. Through 8 games, they have been the most consistent line. While it's nice that the Isles finally have a reliable fourth line, it is also indicative of how the rest of the team has played.

- The Frans Nielsen line seems close to breaking out. Michael Grabner had a few good opportunities tonight, and Kyle Okposo worked very hard in all zones and was awarded an assist on Nielsen's goal. The lines as a whole deserve another game to get a win, but if the team loses again, it may be time to shake things up.

- John Tavares is becoming an exceptional NHL player, but stick him next to Evgeni Malkin and there is a noticeable difference there. That's not a shot at Tavares, but more so a compliment as to how good Malkin is.

- The Isles passing has been pretty putrid during the last few games. Like we said after the last game, these problems are stemming from both ends - both the passer and the receiver. It's an extremely important part of the game that has the team losing flow and opportunities. For a team that has a pretty creative team offensively, this is surely a part of the game that will need to be fine tuned.

- Nice to see Milan Jurcina back in the line-up. While he has durability issues, the Islanders are a much better team with him in the line-up as opposed to Mike Mottau.

- Blake Comeau engaged more tonight than he has all season. If he plays like he did tonight, the goals will come soon. At the same token, Josh Bailey has been very good positionally, but whenever he gets the puck he looks like he has no idea what he's doing. The entire third line has been the definition of inconsistency, which is simply an issue the Islanders cannot afford to have to deal with.

- There is little to no question the Isles missed Mark Streit's outstanding first pass ability. Streit has played extremely well given that he missed an entire year.

- Overall, the team established a good net front presence tonight. They scored both goals from right outside the crease, which is caused from creating traffic. If they continue to go to those dirty areas, more goals will come.


CH: A better performance tonight, without question, but as the team blows a 2-0 lead to lose it's fourth game in a row, it's hard to not look back to last year and see a similar pattern. While there is little to no chance they lose 20 games in a row, the players are most likely beginning to feel the pressure of not winning. That said, a point in Pittsburgh is much needed and in the big picture is not a bad thing. We'll see how the Islanders come out Saturday, in what should be an amped up crowd that is celebrating the last true successful Islanders team.

Next game: The Sharks come to town on Saturday as the Islanders celebrate the 1992-93 cinderella team as part of their 40th anniversary event. Game time is at 7 PM.

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