Before the puck dropped on the Islanders and Penguins tonight, the Penguins honored star centerman and captain Sidney Crosby for his 1000th game. They had a video tribute and everything for their future hall of famer, with the last one to congratulate him being Super Mario Lemieux. The sad part was the lack of fans in the seats to witness this.
At the start of the game, the Islanders and Penguins both sent out their top scoring lines. They buzzed around early.
The Islanders and Penguins traded chances very early on.
Both teams were playing quick hockey. It almost didn’t feel like it was an Islanders game. Both teams flew up and down the ice playing a 200-foot game, with the Islanders holding the advantage.
The Islanders rolled all four forward lines early, and it felt like they weren’t skipping a beat when they would change.
The Penguins got a couple of chances around 4:30 into the period, but Varlamov held strong.
After a few minutes, the Isles looked like they were playing their usual style of dump-and-chase hockey, killing the clock like they usually do.
Jankowski got a chance for Pittsburgh, but Varlamov froze the puck.
After a TV timeout, Pittsburgh got a couple of chances, but they couldn’t hit the net. They had 2 shots on goal at this point in the period.
As the period closed in on 6 minutes left, the Isles sustained pressure. Their best chance being at the end of a long shift for both teams that the Barzal line got a pair of shots on net. Nothing doing, though.
The best chance for Pittsburgh in the period was a defensive zone turnover by Adam Pelech. Varlamov shut it down.
At the end of the period, it almost felt as if the game could have easily been 4-0 had it not been for the outstanding play of Tristan Jarry. He had 16 saves in the first period, stopping everything to come his way. Some of those shots came on quality chances, too.
After dominating the first period, the Isles came out buzzing in the second. It didn’t hurt that Malkin started the period still in the dressing room.
The Islanders absolutely dominated the first five minutes of the second period. The momentum seemed to shift a bit towards Pittsburgh when Malkin came back onto the ice, though.
Mark Jankowski got a chance for the Penguins about 6:30 in, which directly led to a 3-on-1 for the Isles, that Cal Clutterbuck‘s pass was blocked on. Again a good chance for the Isles with nothing to show for it.
The Isles got another chance on an awkward shot from Nelson that Jarry made the save on again.
Josh Bailey got away with a slash around 8 minutes into the period, and it led to a few shots for the Pens.
The Isles, namely Mat Barzal, got going again with twelve minutes left in the period, with a slew of shots. Jarry just continued to keep the puck out of the net.
This game continued to look like it was going to be all Islanders throughout the second period until Anthony Beauvillier took a hooking penalty at 12:23 time elapsed in the period. 12 seconds later, the Penguins had a goal by Kris Letang from Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby at 12:35 time elapsed.
Shortly thereafter, though, the Islanders scored the game-tying goal as Jordan Eberle scored a highlight-reel goal from Beauvillier at 15:28. Beauvillier had redeemed himself from the penalty.
The Isles continued to dominate the rest of the period, but in the end, it was 1-1. The game was still very much up for grabs for both teams.
The Penguins came out in the third period firing on all cylinders. They got a chance early but didn’t capitalize
The Penguins gained some momentum after the Brock Nelson goal. It almost felt like the Islanders had given up on the game and were content with playing dump-and-chase hockey for almost twenty minutes.
Islanders defensemen Ryan Pulock had a chance on a slapshot, nothing came of it again as Jarry stood tall.
Immediately after the goal, Oliver Wahlstrom rang the post on a wide-open shot. Anthony Beauvillier fed him a centering pass, but it didn’t amount to anything.
The Islanders got a couple of more chances, but once again, nothing came of it. That was the constant feeling throughout the night.
Just when it felt like the Islanders were trapping themselves again, it got worse. Kris Letang scored his second goal of the night, this time from Crosby and Jake Guentzel, at 13:34 in the period.
With the Isles playing from behind again, the game felt over. And it was.
The Isles saw a glimmer of hope when Jason Zucker took a hooking penalty with 5:52 left in the period, but they failed to capitalize.
The Penguins would go ahead and just kill off the rest of the clock, defeating the Islanders 3-2.
The Islanders should have won this game with ease. They played their best game of the season, and they got nothing out of it. There are now four teams tied for second in the East division with 19 points: the Flyers, Islanders, Penguins, and Capitals. The Islanders’ next game is Monday, February 22 at home against the Sabres. The Isles will play 9 of their next 10 games at home.
1st Star: Kris Letang – 2G
2nd Star: Tristain Jarry – 33 saves, .943 SV%
3rd Star: Sidney Crosby – 2A
Islanders Three Stars
1st Star: Jordan Eberle – 1G
2nd Star: Brock Nelson – 1G
3rd Star: Oliver Wahlstrom – 12:43 TOI, 3 hits