Recap: Game 6 – Penguins vs. Islanders

New York Islanders goal tender Evgeni Nabokov makes a save against Sidney Crosby. (Courtesy of Getty Images.)

In a shortened season, every win seems that much more important. Finding the ability to win both on the road and at home is something that every team in the National Hockey League must find a way to do. Unfortunately, for the Pittsburgh Penguins, it’s proving to be a little more difficult than many had hoped, bringing with it the Ghosts of Seasons Past (think the fall of 2010.) The Penguins fell 4-1 to the Islanders last night – their second home game of the season.


The Islanders would open scoring late in the first period, their first of the nigh coming with less than four minutes to go in the first twenty.  Despite denying the Islanders a number of times prior to that point and earning a couple of power play opportunities, the Penguins and net-minder Marc-Andre Fleury would be unable to deny Isles’ Casey Cizikas, earning his first of the season with a sneaky wrap-around to give New York a 1-0 lead. Heading into the second, shots would favour the Penguins 8 to 7.


The second period would, effectively, prove to be the Penguins undoing as the Islanders would take a commanding 4-0 lead, scoring three unanswered goals. Six and a half minutes into the period, Pens’ defenceman Deryk Engelland would mismanage the puck, opening up a lane for New York’s Michael Grabner to earn a breakaway. The shot would hit the bottom of Fleury’s glove before skipping over the goal line, the scoreboard flashing 2 to 0. The Penguins would test Islanders’ net-minder Evgeni

Pascal Dupuis scores the Penguins only goal of the evening. (Courtesy of Getty Images.)

Nabokov, doing his best impression of a brick wall, and would be unable to capitalize despite driving hard toward the net. With just over five minutes left in the period, James Neal would be called for a hook, sending the Pens to a later penalty kill. Unfortunately, the Islanders would be able to convert, this time the goal coming courtesy of John Tavares. Picking up a pass from Matt Moulson from across the crease, Tavares would blast a one-time down low, beating Fleury.  Neal’s penalty would be following by a cross-checking call against Tyler Kennedy, giving the Islanders another man-advantage. This time, it would be Mouslson converting after picking up a no-look pass from Brad Boyes. With 1:06 left on the clock in the period, New York’s Colin McDonald hit Penguins’ d-man Ben Lovejoy from behind, knocking him down. It would take Lovejoy a little while to get to his feet and he would immediately head to the locker room while McDonald would earn a five minute major and a game misconduct. This would give the Penguins the man advantage heading into the third.


It would be Tomas Vokoun leading the Pens onto the ice, while Fleury would watch from the bench.  The penalty would expire without any production, but Lovejoy would return to the ice. The Penguins would begin to drive toward the net, and would be rewarded, eventually, with just over a minute left in the third, by a goal courtesy of Pascal Dupuis. Picking up a rebound, Dupuis would sneak the puck past Nabokov, avoiding a shut-out. However, one minute was just not enough time to bang home three more goals, and the Penguins would ultimately fall 4 to 1 to the Isles’ in the first game between these two clubs this season.


Kris Letang led all skaters with 23:46 of ice time, while Paul Martin followed with 21:59.  Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each averaged just over 21:00 minutes on ice.

Pascal Dupuis and Sidney Crosby converse on-ice following Dupuis' late third period goal. (Courtesy of Getty Images.)

Ben Lovejoy, Tyler Kennedy and Sidney Crosby each averaged 4 shots on goal while Pascal Dupuis, Tanner Glass, Brandon Sutter and Simon Despres each had 3. The Penguins fired 38 goals toward Nabokov, while the goaltending duo of Fleury and Vokoun face 24. The Penguins were without defenceman Matt Niskanen who is said to be out 2 to 4 weeks with a lower body injury.


The Penguins will hit the road again on Thursday, travelling back to New York to take on the Rangers for the second time this season.  Game time is 7:00pm.