What seemed like a Pittsburgh Penguin controlled game, turned out to be a Penguin nightmare.
The game started with Hockey Hall of Framer Bryan Trottier leading the New York Islanders onto the ice. He stood at center ice with Sidney Crosby and John Tavares to drop the ceremonial puck. This was all to honor the Islanders final season at the Nassau Coliseum.
Once the ceremony ended, the referee dropped the puck to officially start the game. The Islanders came out with speed, but Marc-Andre Fleury stood strong in the net. He came up with several huge saves to keep the Islanders at bay, including saves to kill off an early penalty, then the Penguins got a chance of their own.
The Penguins received two power play opportunities in a 90 minute span, and they took advantage, . Crosby started the scoring by knocking in the rebound of a shot by Chris Kunitz. Then, on their next power play, David Perron ripped one through traffic past Jaroslav Halak. Just like that, the Penguins were up 2-0.
As the second period got underway, Halak seemed to pick up his game, and the Islanders showed they were not going to go away quietly. Eight minutes into the second period, the Islanders had tied up the game at 2-2 with a goal from Ryan Strome. But the Penguins answered right back. With only 4.4 seconds left in the second period, Crosby put the Penguins back into the lead, thanks to a sick pass across the slot by Evgeni Malkin.
The Islanders didn't let this stick. With about seven minutes left in the third period, Okposo tied things back up with a backhander goal. The Penguins were back on their heels, but there was plenty of time, and they could take back the lead. This didn't happen. The Islanders went ahead for the first time in this game. Okposo earned a hat trick with the Islanders' fourth goal, which came off of a 3-on-2 rush. It was now a 4-3 Islander game.
There was still a chance for the Penguins to make a comeback, but being undisciplined ruined their chances. Steve Downie, who has been controlling his penalties as of late, snapped, after not getting a slashing call earlier. He was called for slashing Brock Nelson and the Islanders capitalized. Okposo put in his fourth goal of the night, and the Penguins were down by two. As a last minute desperation play, the Penguins emptied their net. Michael Grabner nailed home the Islander victory with an empty net goal.
The Penguins became spectators during their own game and that cost them. Bad turnovers, giveaways, and not staying disciplined cost them the game. They had things under control, but a hockey game is a full 60 minute process. A team cannot show up for one period or two and think they have things in hand. All it takes is one period for things to come undone, and that happened in this one. Lesson learned and time to move on.
Below are some statistics from the game:
1st Star - Kyle Okposo (four goals = four points)
2nd Star - John Tavares (three assists = three points)
3rd Star - Crosby (two goals and one assist = four points)
9:08: Power Play Goal (PPG) - Crosby (13) tip-in
Assisted by Kunitz and Letang
7:38: PPG Perron (9) wrist shot
Assisted by Letang (20) and Crosby (36)
3:09: Kyle Okposo (10) tip-in
Assisted by John Tavares (21) and Josh Bailey (9)
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7:29: Ryan Strome (8) wrist shot
Assisted by Anders Lee (5) and Frans Nielsen (14)
0:04: Crosby (14) wrist shot
Assisted by Martin (8) and Letang (21)
13:18: Kyle Okposo (11) backhand shot
Assisted by John Tavares (22) and Josh Bailey (10)
8:09: Kyle Okposo (12) wrist shot - Hat Trick
Assisted by Josh Bailey (11) and Travis Hammonic (8)
2:31: PPG Kyle Okposo (13) wrist shot
Assisted by Brock Nelson (18) and John Tavares (23)
1:13: Empty Net (EN) Michael Grabner (3) wrist shot
13:01: Spaling - 2 minute - hooking against Kyle Okposo
9:32: Michael Grabner - 2 minute - tripping against Harrington
8:09: Cal Clutterbuck - 2 minute - high sticking against Letang
5:20: Harrington - 2 minute - hooking against Brock Nelson
16:17: Ehrhoff - 2 minute - holding against Casey Cizikas
16:17: Casey Cizikas - 2 minute - roughing against Ehrhoff
2:41: Downie - 2 minute - slashing against Brock Nelson
Goals Against (GA): 5
Save Percentage (SVP): .853