Isles fall in Pittsburgh on Late D Breakdown and Crosby Goal
After falling behind 2-0 and 3-1, the Islanders came back to tie the game at 3 against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins, but Sidney Crosby put in the game deciding goal with less than 2 minutes to play in the 3rd, preventing the Islanders from at least getting one point, which they deserved.
The game didn’t start off well for the Isles at all. After a couple of questionable penalty calls, they quickly found themselves down 2-0 on a pair of Chris Kunitz powerplay goals. The game could’ve gotten out of hand, but with Kunitz’s hat trick goal waved off (the fans still threw their hats on the ice), the Isles caught a break. In the second period, Thomas Vanek, playing in his first game since November 6, would get the Isles on the board and bring the score to 2-1. As usual, the Isles helped another player snap a scoreless slump, as Evegni Malkin would score just minutes later to reinstate the Penguins’ two goal lead. However, the Isles would tie the game at 3 before the intermission on a nice wrister by Colin McDonald and Vanek’s second of the night. Crosby would finish the game off at 18:44 of the third period on a gorgeous tick-tack passing play where the Isles did not pick up a wide-open Crosby in front of the net.
Kevin Poulin really stood on his head in this game, making several huge saves on the impressive array of shooters on the Pittsburgh club (as Butchie kept saying on the telecast). His best save perhaps was the stoning of Malkin on a breakway by using his back leg to protect the five-hole Geno thought he had wide open. However, no matter how much a goalie stands on their head it is close to impossible to make saves on perfect passing plays that the defense in front of him is not defending properly. The Isles were without Andrew MacDonald for much of the game after leaving in the first due to pain from blocking a shot. MacDonald would return in the 3rd period however. In MacDonald’s absence, the patchwork unit of Hamonic and Carkner actually played decently together, with both timely and successful pinches, and strong defensive play in their own zone. Thomas Hickey was the defensemen victimized the most tonight by the Penguins, showing why he was scratched against them in the playoffs last season.
Head Scratching Moment of the Game, Brought to you by Jack Capuano: Five forwards on a powerplay? Yup, with no MacDonald, the Isles coach tried putting Pierre Marc Bouchard on the umbrella point on the powerplay, only to have the Isles give up a shorthanded opportunity which led to a PMB penalty, cutting the powerplay short. I guess Donovan, Hickey or Hamomic were unable to attend to the point?
Tonight the Isles are in Philadelphia to take on the Flyers.