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Isles six-game point streak ends

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
The Penguins 6-3 win over the Islanders on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum, ended the Islanders six-game point streak and the Penguins two-game losing streak. The Isles led twice in the game, but the momentum changed on five-minute major penalty and game misconduct on sophomore defenseman Travis Hamonic.

At the 7:35 mark of the second period, Hamonic was on the receiving end of disciplinary action. The call on the play was for elbowing Brooks Orpik.

Steve Sullivan checks Travis Hamonic at Nassau Coliseum on December 10, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
“You watch that replay and in my opinion, it’s a terrible call because I didn’t hit him,” Hamonic said. “That wasn’t a head check. That’s not my style of play. My style of play is not to go after anyone’s head and I didn’t in any sort of way. If you watch, I kept my elbows down. I hit him right in the stomach and he follows through with his own stick and hits himself in the forehead.”

The Penguins defenseman left the ice to get a few stitches across his forehead before returning later in the game, however the penalty forced the Isles to play with five defensemen through the remaining 32:25 of play, put the Islanders down a man for 51 seconds and then down 5-on-3 when Jason Williams left the box at 8:26.

“It was a joke (of a call),” Islanders Captain Mark Streit said. “That’s how I saw it. It’s ridiculous, but referees make mistakes too. We just have to keep working. That wasn’t the reason we lost that game, the reason we lost that game was our terrible performance.”

James Neal converted for a power play goal 18 seconds later, his second goal of the night, tying the score at three. Though Neal scored the tying goal in that span, the Islanders remained a man short for the next 3:51 and successfully killed the clock.

“The game certainly seemed to really change after that call,” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “I thought we were playing pretty good up until that point. Obviously they got the two man advantage, then they had that power play for an extended period of time, it just seemed after that we were on our heels for the rest of the night, we couldn’t respond.”

Pascal Dupuis scored what would be the game-winning goal at 15:58 of the second. Matt Cooke opened the third period scoring with his seventh goal of the season, giving the Penguins a 5-3 lead. Paul Martin converted for the final score at 10:10.

“They worked harder than us,” Capuano said. “They got the victory tonight because we were second to all loose pucks, we didn’t win puck battles. We didn’t deserve to win that game. I give the (Penguins) credit, they won the battles and the territorial battle and we just turned too many pucks over.”

Marc-Andre Fleury covers the puck as Michael Grabner looks for a rebound at Nassau Coliseum on December 10, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The game started on the right path. David Ullstrom opened the scoring at 4:04 of the first with his second career NHL goal. He skated through the offensive zone and shot far side, ringing the puck off the post and into the net beating Marc-Andre Fleury glove side. Milan Jurcina gave the Isles 2-0 lead on a sniper from five feet within the blue line for a power play goal at 12:16.

Steve Sullivan got the Penguins on the board at 14:28 of the first, and with 29 seconds left in the opening period Neal’s first goal evened the score. Kyle Okposo regained the Isles lead at 2:54 of the second period, but penalties midway through the period laid claim to the Isles fate.

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