An Old-Fashioned Shootout: Pens Beat Islanders 3-2

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 27: James Neal #18 of the Pittsburgh Penguins handles the puck against Steve Staios #24 of the New York Islanders during the game at Consol Energy Center on October 27, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

An old-fashioned shootout, but with an odd twist.

If the Islanders' plan to pull Evgeni Nabokov with three minutes remaining in Tuesday's game was weird, then the decision to go with Rick DiPietro for the shootout ranks right up there.

Fresh off the bench, in his first bit of action all season long (that includes a single second of actual ice time), DiPietro was sent between the pipes for the Islanders during the shootout. In theory, he knows the Penguins' tendencies better than Nabokov, which may have led to the swap. In reality, it didn't do much to deter the Pens from picking up two points.

We'll start this recap in the third period, the only period that really mattered for Pittsburgh. After finding themselves in a 2-0 hole following Islanders goals from Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin, the Pens were able to tie it up within a three-minute span thanks to Chris Kunitz and James Neal. We mentioned earlier in the season that this Pens team has the tendency of playing well under pressure, so it was comfortable to think they were going to take this one down in regulation. But after 60 minutes it went to overtime, at least assuring the Pens they'd get one point on the night.

In OT, we really got to see what Evgeni Malkin is capable of doing when he wants to take over a game. His end-to-end rush nearly amounted to a goal after some nifty moves sent him around three defenders. If Neal is crashing the net all the way on that attack, it's a sure goal. We also saw former Pen Mark Eaton make a goal-saving clear that likely brought back some fond memories of him stacking his legs and diving in front of shots while wearing the black and gold. Of course, there was also a span where doing so would've resulted in him limping off the ice, but that was then and this is now.

Once this advanced to the shootout stages, we could see Nabokov standing along the boards chatting with DiPietro. I'd imagine the conversation going something like this:

Nabokov: "Any tips?"
DiPietro: "Yeah, Letang likes to deke, leg kick and go back hand. Malkin tends to go right at you. Neal prefers to..."
Nabokov: "Do you want to just do it?"
DiPietro: "Yeah Let me get my stick..."

Just a weird situation sending a cold goaltender onto the ice after he hadn't played a single minute this season. If it worked, Nabokov and/or DiPietro would look like the genius. If it didn't - well, the Islanders would still leave Pittsburgh with a point.

And that they did after Malkin snuck one in around a sprawling DiPietro for the only goal in the shootout.

That'll close out Pittsburgh's home-and-home series against the Islanders, void of goaltending fights, 200+ penalty minutes and outward cheap shots. In other words, a series well spent for Pittsburgh, who picked up four points in the process and extended their win streak to five straight.

Pens return to action Saturday when they pay a visit to the Maple Leafs. Puck and thread drops at 7pm ET.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join PensBurgh

You must be a member of PensBurgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at PensBurgh. You should read them.

Join PensBurgh

You must be a member of PensBurgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at PensBurgh. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker