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Aftermath: Islanders 3, Penguins 2

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo Gallery: Isles 3, Penguins 2
Video: Game Highlights   Blog: Pens vs. Isles Game Blog
New York ended up on the winning end of the scoreboard because they beat the Penguins at their own game. The Islanders won the puck-possession battle, playing a majority of the contest in the Pittsburgh end of the rink. They outshot the Penguins and generated more quality scoring chances in each of the three periods.

The Penguins were able to take a 2-1 lead into the final period but New York used the momentum they built during the final minutes of the middle frame when they killed a 55-second two-man advantage which coincided with a four-minute high-sticking penalty assessed to Andy Sutton to score the final two goals of the game.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) – John Tavares scored on a rebound with 6:12 left in the third period to lift the New York Islanders to a rare come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

Evgeni Malkin and Matt Cooke scored for Pittsburgh and Brent Johnson made 34 saves.

Evgeni Malkin celebrates his first-period goal
(photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Breakouts
Perfectly-executed breakouts were the key to the Penguins taking a 2-1 lead on the Islanders. In the first period it was Ben Lovejoy sending a breakout pass right to the tape of Eric Godard, which led to Evgeni Malkin’s goal. Sergei Gonchar got the ball rolling in the middle frame with an outlet pass to Matt Cooke, a sequence which ended with Cooke crashing the net and cleaning the garbage from a Jordan Staal rebound.

What Could Have Gone Better: Closing the Deal
The Penguins entered the third period with a 2-1 lead on the Islanders but were unable to secure the victory as they allowed New York two third-period goals. New York spent a majority of the final frame in the Pittsburgh end of the ice, throwing 18 shots at Johnson compared to only five Pittsburgh shots.
Brent Johnson starts about once every two weeks, but when head coach Dan Bylsma calls his number, Johnson is there for the Penguins. His play was the sole reason the Penguins were in the game on Friday afternoon.

New York carried the play against the Penguins, outshooting Pittsburgh, 37-21. Johnson came through on several occasions, including a glove save on Kyle Okposo in the first period and a diving pokecheck on Jack Hillen in the second. After allowing the eventual winning goal to Tavares, Johnson gave the Penguins a chance to tie the score late following his great save with his left arm on Sean Bergenheim.
New York struck first when defenseman Mark Streit skated the puck over the blue line and unleashed a slap shot denied by Brent Johnson. The rebound caromed to the stick of Josh Bailey at the left of the crease and he swept the puck into an open cage. New York 1, Pittsburgh 0.

Evgeni Malkin evened the score late in the opening period. Ben Lovejoy passed from behind his own net to Eric Godard at center ice. Godard left the puck for Malkin, who skated down the right wing and fired a backhander past a surprised Dwayne Roloson. Pittsburgh 1, New York 1.

Pittsburgh again scored off the rush as Sergei Gonchar hit Matt Cooke at center ice. Cooke sprung Jordan Staal into the Islanders zone, where his shot glanced off the pad of Roloson. Cooke skated to the front of the crease and tapped the rebound into the net. Pittsburgh 2, New York 1.

The Islanders tied the contest 1:24 into the final period as Sean Bergenheim scored from the faceoff dot in the near circle. Taking a pass from Frans Nielsen he beat Johnson over the glove hand with a wicked wrist shot. Pittsburgh 2, New York 2.

John Tavares gave the Islanders a lead they wouldn’t relinquish at 13:48 of the final period when he slipped the rebound of a Freddy Meyer shot over the left pad of Johnson. New York 3, Pittsburgh 2.
Although they will more than likely return to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton when Kris Letang, Alex Goligoski and Jay McKee return to the lineup, Ben Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland have to be pleased with the effort they are giving the Penguins. Lovejoy recorded his third assist of the season on Evgeni Malkin’s goal, registered two more shots on net and finished a plus-1 in 19:31 of ice time. Engelland led all skaters with five blocked shots and answered the bell 13 seconds into the game when he fought the Islanders Tim Jackman.

Jordan Staal gave another example of the Penguins’ team toughness when he provoked a fight with New York’s Nate Thompson seconds after the Islanders’ forward laid a borderline check from behind on Martin Skoula. Staal was given the instigator penalty which carried an accompanying 10-minute misconduct, forcing him to miss much of the final period.

Evgeni Malkin scored the Penguins opening goal Friday afternoon but he also took a beating. Midway through the second period his chin was cut open courtesy of an Andy Sutton high stick. In the third period Malkin had his bell rung following a collision with Jack Hillen in front of the Islanders’ net and seconds later took a shot from Bruno Gervais off the same chin he cut earlier.
> Scoring Summary:
NYI, J. Bailey (7), 9:05 1st period: Islanders 1, Penguins 0
PIT, E. Malkin (7), 17:22 1st period: Penguins 1, Islanders 1
PIT, M. Cooke (5), 7:12 2nd period: Penguins 2, Islanders 1
NYI, S. Bergenheim (4), 1:24 3rd period: Penguins 2, Islanders 2
NYI, J. Tavares (10), 13:48 3rd period: Islanders 3, Penguins 2

> The Penguins return home on Saturday night to take on the New York Rangers in the front end of a home-and-home series. Pittsburgh and the Rangers conclude their mini series Monday at Madison Square Garden.

> Pittsburgh is now 35-12-4 in the regular season under head coach Dan Bylsma. They have a record of 17-7-3 away from Mellon Arena.

> Evgeni Malkin increased his scoring streak to five games with his first period goal. During the streak Malkin has six points (3G-3A). For the season Malkin ranks second on the team with 23 points (7G-16A).

> Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke continued their strong play against the Islanders. Both players have recorded points in five of their last six games. Staal has two goals and four assists while Cooke has three goals and three assists.

> Forward Eric Godard picked up his first point of the season when he got the primary helper on Evgeni Malkin’s first-period goal.

> The Penguins had the edge on faceoffs against the Islanders, going 32-28. Sidney Crosby (14-9), Evgeni Malkin (6-5), Craig Adams (6-3), and Jordan Staal (5-4) all won more draws than they lost.
1. J. Tavares
2. D. Roloson
3. B. Johnson
"Jordan made the decision to not let teams
hit our guys from behind and
went into the scrum. ... I
understand his reaction."
- Dan Bylsma on Jordan Staal


Author: Jason Seidling

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