Isles Fall In OT To Visiting Pens

The New York Islanders, playing host tonight to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau County Veterans Coliseum, lost in a battle of first and last in the division.

For the Islanders, it continues a two game run of good play with middling results. The Isles lost in overtime against the Capitals on Saturday at the Coliseum and tonight produced the same result.

In both instances, the Isles had leads in the 3rd.

Tonight, the Islanders led most of the game. As is the norm, it was the first line of John Tavares, Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo who led the way.

After defenseman Thomas Hickey forced a turnover with the Pens skating into the Islanders’ zone, the Isles top line skates into the Pittsburgh zone. Tavares hits Okposo with a pass and the forward skates up the left wing. Okposo then backhands the puck on net where it ricochets off of Pitt defender Olli Maatta and past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

About 3 minutes later, Okposo adds to the Isles’ lead.

Tavares skates into the Pittsburgh end, passes to Okposo and drives to the net. Okposo, utilizing Tavares and a Pens defenseman as a screen, fires a shot past Fleury.

New York carried the play the rest of the first period, even though they faced a five on three late in the frame.

The tide starts to turn in the second period as the Pens continued to gain momentum; ultimately scoring a power play goal in the final minute of the period.

While up a man, Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin carries the puck behind the Islander net and backhands a pass back out front, right to winger James Neal who buries it behind Isles netminder Anders Nilsson.

Eight minutes into the third period, Penguins star Sidney Crosby tied up the game. Again on the power play, Malkin fires a cross ice pass to Crosby who one-times the puck past a sliding Nilsson. It was a classic Crosby goal.

The Islanders had their chances to win the game. Shootout specialist Frans Nielsen had a chance on a penalty shot and failed to convert. Also, the Isles had a late power play in the third after Malkin cross checked Tavares, but the power play was cut short by a retaliatory penalty by Vanek.

The game was sealed with a little more than a minute left in overtime when Crosby stole the puck at the Isles blueline and split Travis Hamonic and Calvin de Haan to slip a puck past Nilsson’s right pad, giving Crosby his second goal and his team a win.

The Islanders will have to try to recover from their recent run of losses while on the road as the team heads out on a five game road trip starting in Saint Louis on Thursday.

 

-Donovan Brooks

 

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