Sports Magazine

Game 4 Islanders @ Penguins

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
Penguins assistant coach Gary Agnew shares his three observations from the bench on Saturday’s 3-1 win against the New York Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center. 1. Special Teams
The penalty killing and the power play were outstanding. It won us the game, had a big part in it anyway.
2. D-play
Our defensive awareness and effort. You look at (Nick) Spaling’s blocked shot or ‘Geno’s’ dive in the second period to get the puck on an outnumbered rush. A lot of little defensive things we did, not a system thing, just individual and as a team, we got in lanes, blocked shots, boxed out in front of the net, we did a lot of good things in that area.
3. Goaltender
He played really well. Hung in there. He competed really hard, especially on those scrambles when there’s lots of action and guys are knocking you around. He hung in tough.
Game 4 Islanders @ Penguins
Sam Kasan shares his three impressions from the media level.
1. Turn Downie for What
It’s hard not to love Steve Downie’s game and what he’s brought to the Penguins. He’s injected an attitude and nastiness that has been missing from the Pittsburgh lineup since the original version of Matt Cooke. As the horn blew on the second period several players on both sides started yelling unpleasant words at each other, including Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang. Downie quickly intervened and basically challenged the entire Islanders bench. It concluded with him and Kyle Okposo screaming at each other from the runways. In the third period Downie annihilated Frans Nielsen with a check in the corner. Right after Travis Hamonic went after Downie and the two sparred. After I was waiting for Downie to crack open a beer and shout, “And that’s the bottom line, because Steve Downie said so!”
The only negative was when he took an offensive zone penalty with four minutes left in the third period and the Penguins leading 2-1. But that’s the tradeoff with a fiery player like Downie.
2. Tenders Duel
Don’t let the 3-1 final score fool you. This was anything but a tight, low-scoring affair. Both teams combined for 73 shots on goal and nearly as many quality scoring chances. This was a case of two goaltenders standing on their heads.
New York’s Jaroslav Halak was his usual frustrating and goal-stealing self. Pittsburgh has been accustomed to his heroics from days gone by and he didn’t disappoint in tonight’s effort.
But Fleury was one goal better. He was highly alert and sharp, reacting quickly to shots. More impressive was his puck tracking on tips, screens and re-directed shots. He made several key stops where he had to readjust from his positioning to get a toe, pad or blocker on a shot.
3. Killin’ It
The Penguins penalty kill was much beleaguered entering the game, having surrendered six power-play goals on 15 times shorthanded. But they may have found their groove against an Islanders power play that was clicking at 42.9 percent entering the game. Pittsburgh finished the game a perfect 7-for-7.
The Penguins had to kill a 3-on-5 disadvantage for 1:26 minutes in the second period. Pittsburgh slammed the door shut, with a lot of help from Fleury.
But the Penguins’ biggest kill occurred with 3:58 minutes left in the third period and Pittsburgh clinging to a 2-1 lead. Although heart-racing scrums ensued in front of the crease, Fleury and the Pens stood their ground and slammed the door shut.
Game 4 Islanders @ Penguins
Game 4 Islanders @ Penguins
NY Islanders 1

Game 4 Islanders @ Penguins
Pittsburgh 3

Coverage: MSG+/ROOT
Arena: CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Saturday October 18, 7:00 pm EDT

1 2 3 Total

NY Islanders 1 0 0 1

Pittsburgh 0 2 1 3

  • Recap
  • Box Score
  • Play by Play

Penguins hand Islanders 1st loss of season, 3-1
By DAN SCIFO , Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) The much-maligned Pittsburgh Penguins' penalty killers provided the lift needed to back up an already-sizzling power play.
The Penguins killed a lengthy 5-on-3 just minutes before Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist scored power-play goals 55 seconds apart in the second period, helping Pittsburgh hand the New York Islanders their first loss of the season, 3-1 on Saturday night.
"They took some heat the last three games, but certainly tonight they came through big time," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said of the penalty killers. "That was the turning point in the game, that 5-on-3 kill."
The Islanders (4-1), who came up empty during a 5-on-3 of their own in the second, were the Eastern Conference's last unbeaten team.
"If you go back and look at our record when we don't score a 5-on-3 goal, it's not good," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We didn't capitalize on ours, and obviously they did. That's the difference in the game."
Hornqvist, who assisted on Malkin's goal, added an empty-net tally with 1:20 left to seal the Penguins' win. It is the first time Hornqvist has opened a season with points in four straight games. He has a total of eight points.
Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby had two assists, including the 500th of his career. He joined Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr as the only Penguins with 500 assists, and he is the sixth-fastest to do it in NHL history.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves as Pittsburgh recorded its fourth straight win over the Islanders and the eighth in nine meetings.
Thomas Hickey staked the Islanders to a 1-0 lead in the first period, but New York failed to post its first 5-0 start. Jaroslav Halak stopped 35 shots.
The Penguins' penalty-killing unit, which ranked last in the league entering Saturday, went 6-for-6 and came up with two key third-period stops to protect a one-goal lead.
That wasn't the case Thursday when Dallas scored the winning, power-play goal with 2.9 seconds left.
The Penguins fended off the hard-charging Islanders, who nearly tied the game midway through the final period.
"I thought our penalty killers battled hard," Johnston said. "(The Islanders) have a very good power play, but our penalty killers were outstanding."
And they needed to be.
The game was a matchup between the NHL's top two power-play units and bottom two penalty-killers.
Pittsburgh entered with the best power play and worst penalty kill. The Islanders were second with the man advantage and 29th when short-handed.
The teams combined for eight penalties in 9:32 in the second period, starting with the Penguins, who committed four penalties in 3:21. Pittsburgh killed the Islanders' two-man advantage that spanned 1:26.
"The power play was ugly," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "The second half of the game, we didn't generate much. We tried to mix things up, and it just seemed for whatever reason, we just weren't sharp."
The Penguins got the next two-man advantage after Cory Conacher was called for hooking, and the Islanders were then caught with too many men on the ice.
Malkin tied it 1-1 at 13:49 when he put in a wrist shot from the left point, and then fired a drive that Hornqvist tipped past Halak with 5:16 left in the second.
"When you get a 5-on-3 like we had right after theirs, those are turning points," Johnston said. "We scored and they didn't. That was the difference in the game."
Pittsburgh outshot New York 16-10 in the opening period, but the Islanders held a one-goal lead.
New York scored 5:46 in when Ryan Strome, on a rush down the right side, found the trailing Hickey, who wristed a shot over Fleury's shoulder.
Special teams allowed the Penguins to make up the difference.
"We had to kill that 5-on-3. To get one of our own, put one in, and fire back to get another one was huge," Crosby said. "We seemed to build a lot of momentum off of that."
NOTES: Penguins F Pascal Dupuis played after leaving the ice on a stretcher on Thursday against Dallas when he was cross-checked and hit with a shot while he was down. ... Pittsburgh is 20-5-1 in its last 26 games against New York and 17-3 in its last 20 home games. . The Islanders return home Tuesday against Toronto. Pittsburgh will wrap up a three-game homestand Wednesday against Philadelphia.

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