Assistant coach Gary Agnew gives his three impressions from the bench of the Penguins' 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders.
1. I thought in the first period we came out and generated a lot of opportunities, a lot of shots on goal. Did what we had to do in terms of the 5-on-5 play. Obviously the shorthanded goal against hurt.
2. We’re going to have to find a way to manufacture some offense. Only scoring one tonight. We’re doing the right things, we’re just not getting rewarded for it for whatever reason.
3. Halak played well. He’s a good goaltender. He’s played well in the big stage before. Tonight he was on his game.
Michelle Crechiolo gives her three impressions from the media level.
1. FLEURY DESERVED BETTER
While Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t face as many shots as Jaroslav Halak, especially early, he saw a lot of quality chances as the game went on. He covered up so many of the Pens’ breakdowns with incredible saves and as a result, kept them in this game, and gave them a chance to win it. There was nothing he could do on the three goals they scored and if it wasn’t for his efforts, the score could have been more lopsided. I felt he deserved better in this game.
2. MISSED CHANCES
While Jaroslav Halak certainly deserves credit for making 37 of 38 stops and getting his team a big win, he didn’t look all that sharp making a number of those saves and I thought the Pens should have buried more than just one. Like head coach Mike Johnston said, “We just didn’t score tonight on our opportunities.” They can’t just hope and pray for the hockey gods to send the bounces their way. They have to dig deep and work their butts off to will those pucks over the line. To be fair, Sidney Crosby produced an incredible individual effort on the Pens’ only goal, getting the puck to Paul Martin while draped by Islanders players, recovering the rebound, and getting the puck to open ice for Rob Scuderi to pick up and fire into the goal. The Pens need more of that tomorrow night in Buffalo.
3. UNLIKELY HERO
Rob Scuderi couldn’t have picked a more opportune time to score his first goal on home ice as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. With just 5.7 seconds left in the second period and the Pens trailing 1-0, the stay-at-home defenseman picked up a loose puck in the circle and sent a floater to the net that bounced off Halak’s blocker and into the back of the net, breaking a 180-game goalless drought and giving his team life and all of the momentum heading into the intermission.