The Islanders are barely recognizable anymore. Sure, they still have Tavares and Okposo and the ever-hatable Matt Martin, but playing a new building that isn't even a hockey building, wearing their all black alternate jerseys...It just didn't seem quite the same.
The Islanders would strike first courtesy of John Tavares firing a shot that clicks off of Brian Dumoulin and turns into a bouncy ball on Marc-Andre Fleury
John Tavares tied for 26th in scoring (24-28-52) https://t.co/4v4J50YeOM— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) March 9, 2016
Kris Letang pulls the Pens even while the game is at 4v4, a nice pass from Sidney Crosby and center-drive by Patric Hornqvist to give Letang all the space he needed to streak down the right side and pick the glove-hand of Jaroslav Halak.
Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 9, 2016
On a questionable call against Matt Cullen, the refs let Anders Lee get away with jousting with Letang as Nick Leddy's point shot gets by Fleury after Lee deflects it.
The Pens make a push but can't score and that would be that.
- First shift Evgeni Malkin put a perfect pass for Phil Kessel in a primo scoring area right in front. Kessel got a pretty good shot but Halak move laterally enough to make the save.
- Likewise early NYI got a great scoring chance with a solid cross-bar hit that nearly went in. Luckily the score stayed even to that point.
- Brian Strait update: still in the NHL, somehow.
- Crosby scores his 92nd career point against the Islanders in his 52nd career game. That's some Mario Lemieux territory stuff.
- Interesting thought that Crosby's linemates for tonight were Hornqvist (drafted #230 overall), and Scott Wilson (drafted 207). It's not where you start, but where you end up.
- Bryan Rust uses his speed again to break in all alone in the second period but his shot hit the left post. Seems like he flashes like that about once a game these days and earns a great scoring chance with his legs.
- Travis Hamonic probably has to be in the invented list I just made of "Top 5 opponents it's no fun to play against". He's just a solid, tough, mean defenseman and I do mean that complimentary, of course.
- Calls in the 3rd definitely had a heavy hand in the game. The game got chippy and some calls got made - Kessel for slashing. Then Anders Lee gets called for slashing Brian Dumoulin in front of the net. Then Cullen got taken down, got up a (barely) retaliated and got rung up himself. On the ensuing power play, Lee again in front of the net knocked down a Penguin but this time he wasn't called on it and the puck ended in the net. The refs aren't going to call literally everything, but with a game spinning out of control in the middle of the 3rd, they basically did nothing to keep it under control.
- But that's not to say refereeing decided this game, they didn't. The Pens had a power play with 4 minutes to go to score a game-tying goal, against a cold goalie in Thomas Greiss who had to make an appearance due to a Halak injury late. The Pens have no one to blame but themselves.
- Pens get their first 2 day break since Feb 25-26 and after this they won't have another until March 21-24.
Tough one to swallow for the Pens who lose valuable ground to the Isles, but the two teams still do meet to more times this season. Pittsburgh has alternated W-L-W-L-W-L for the last 6 games and need to try and find ways to consistently get more points. Their next chance won't be until Friday night