Islanders Finish Off Solid Road Trip with Win Against Penguins
The New York Islanders are suddenly receiving secondary scoring in droves and the results are starting to show. New York continued its strong play on their road trip, even after seeing their 2 goal lead disappear in the second period. Frans Nielsen, Josh Bailey, and Kyle Okposo were the main catalysts for the Isles as the team finished their five game road trip with a 4-1-0 record. (Robert Kowal/Flickr)
Even though Pittsburgh managed to outshoot the Islanders 17-11 at the end of the first, the road team was in front 2-0 courtesy of goals from Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner. Tyler Kennedy and James Neal managed to tie the contest before the 5 minute mark of the second period, but the Isles were determined not to squander another opportunity as they scored 3 goals in a span of five and a half minutes and closed out the second period with a comfortable 5-2 lead.
Kyle Okposo, David Ullstrom, and Frans Nielsen made sure that the Islanders went into the second intermission on a high note and the team responded in the third period. Despite having blown numerous multiple goal cushions this season, the Isles did let their lead disappear in the third period as Al Montoya replaced Evgeni Nabokov and stood tall in his absence. Nabokov managed to make 30 saves on 32 shots but did not return for the third period.
While Montoya allowed a goal in the late stages of the third period, he withstood the same barrage that Nabokov received in his two periods against the Pens. Montoya fought off 21 of 22 shots thrown his way as the home team refused to let the Islanders leave with two points without putting up a fight. However, the Penguins’ surge proved to be too little too late and the Isles’ netminders were equal to the task that was thrown their way.
Pittsburgh put up a total of 54 shots on goal, but only managed to score three goals against a combination of Evgeni Nabokov and Al Montoya. Nabokov left after the second period with a lower-body injury and was replaced to start the third, but Montoya proved to be the difference in the contest. The win was definitely much needed for the Islanders as they were able to close out the third period and secure a victory despite facing an onslaught of shots.
On the other hand, Marc-Andre Fleury left the contest because of ineffectiveness and was replaced by Brad Thiessen to start the third period. Thiessen was perfect in his only frame of work, but the three goal blitzkrieg by the Islanders was simply too much to overcome for the Pens. Even though the Islanders gave up 22 shots in the third period, the team still deserves credit as they kept the Pens at bay for the final twenty minutes and only allowed Pittsburgh to score when they had the man advantage.
The playoffs are more than likely out of reach for the Isles, but it is obvious that the team isn't letting up despite not accomplishing their goal of making the post-season. Marc-Andre Fleury would definitely like at least one goal back that he gave to the Isles, but Pittsburgh turnovers also helped New York build their lead against a team they hadn't beaten on the road and in regulation since 2007.
The Islanders did not receive a single point from their top line as Josh Bailey and Frans Nielsen both had three point nights and were one of the main reasons for the road victory. Dylan Reese and Kyle Okposo both had two point nights for the Isles while James Neal and Evgeni Malkin had two points a piece for the night. Brad Thiessen stopped all 7 shots that he faced in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury.