The Islanders (20-17-4) came into this game losers of their last four games. Between the Islanders’ losing streak and the Penguins’ overall poor play, something had to give tonight.
The Penguins, still dealing with their injuries, came out with another mix-and-match lineup, somewhat similar to last night's game against the Hurricanes:
The Islanders lineup looked like this:
#Isles Lines:— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 5, 2018
Halak in goal
Conor Sheary was called for hooking three minutes into the contest. The Penguin penalty-killers would successfully do their job and force the play back to even-strength.
Early on, it seemed the Penguins would be continuing their trend of lack of shots and zone time, only mustering one SOG through the first ten minutes of the game. Tristan Jarry had to bail the Penguins out quite a few times as well.
Jarry made a magnificent save with less than two minutes to go in the first period to preserve the scoreless tie.
The period would end with the Penguins taking a good bit of momentum with them into the locker room, finishing the period with 13 shots after a slow start.
Stats after one:
What does everyone want to see? A 2-on-1 with Sidney Crosby and Daniel Sprong that leads to a 1-0 Penguins lead? Well, it’s your lucky day:
Moments later, Ryan Pulock was called for tripping Phil Kessel. At the 3:30 mark, Evgeni Malkin put the finishing touches on a beautiful power-play sequence for a 2-0 Penguins lead:
The Penguins began to take firm control of the game as the period progressed. However, Olli Maatta was highlighted on a noticeable defensive slip-up that led to a 3-on-1 chance, but nothing ultimately came of it.
Jordan Eberle was sent to the sin bin for hooking Carl Hagelin, continuing to give the Penguins chances to increase the lead. After a shaky start to the power-play, which saw the Penguins struggle to get out of their own zone, the penalty was eventually killed.
With four minutes to go in the period, Sidney Crosby extended the lead and beat Jaroslav Halak after doing Sidney Crosby things. His ability to turn and shake guys off is incredible. Sid now has 106 points in 60 career games against the Islanders.
A total of 4,781 players who have played in the NHL have recorded fewer career points than Crosby has just against the NYI (106). With 1 period to go tonight.— Bob Grove (@bobgrove91) January 6, 2018
With 2:52 to go, Kessel was sent to the box for slashing. Then, Carl Hagelin was sent off for cross-checking, giving the Isles 1:17 of 5-on-3 PP time. The penalty-killers did an outstanding job to end the period and kill the two-man disadvantage to keep the 3-0 lead intact.
The numbers through two. Total domination in the shot department. Good stuff:
We're up where it counts! pic.twitter.com/waMXSoxMw4— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 6, 2018
Early on, the Penguins faced a little bit of difficultly getting out of their own zone, but they were never under immense pressure and still controlled the majority of the game.
With 12:14 to go in the game, Islanders d-man, Scott Mayfield, was called for interference on Dominik Simon. This penalty would be killed two minutes later.
Islanders rookie, Mathew Barzal, took a fancy shot between his legs right in front of Jarry, but Jarry stood tall here.
Seconds later, the Penguins marched into the offensive zone and folks, I present to you, Daniel Sprong:
Talk about precision, wow. pic.twitter.com/DgaldIDRSs— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 6, 2018
This was Sprong’s second goal of the night.
Ian Cole drove Mathew Barzal into the boards and would be penalized with a cross-checking call. This penalty would be successfully killed.
Time would wind down with the Islanders effectively tapping out and the Penguins would win this one by a score of 4-0.
- The biggest talking point from this win may be the formation and success of the Simon-Sid-Sprong line. Combining for three goals and nine points tonight, a little bit of chemistry may be forming between Sid and these new kids. It was tons of fun to watch.
- Tristan Jarry delivered another strong performance, as evidenced by his 31-save shutout. It may behoove the Penguins to ride this hot streak and strong play of Jarry to get as many points as they can.
- The Penguins’ PK unit was superb tonight. Killing off the 1:17 of 5-on-3 PP time looked to be the big, deflating moment for the Islanders.
- The Penguins will return to action on Sunday night when they return home to battle the Bruins. After that, the team will enjoy their 5-day bye week to try and recharge their batteries as they look to continue their climb through the Metropolitan Division.