Fleury Of Zeros - Pens 3 Islanders 0
Marc-Andre Fluery loves playing against the New York Islanders.
Fleury had 33 saves for his 20th career shutout and led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-0 triumph over the lifeless New York Islanders Tuesday Night.
The teams meet again in Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
Pascal Dupuis, former Islanders great Richard Park and Jordan Staal had goals for Pittsburgh (7-2-2). Evgeni Nabakov (1-2-0) had 27 saves for the Islanders who have now dropped to 3-4-0 on the season.
With the Isles’ defensemen pinching in the Pens’ zone, Dupuis took a long feed from Brooks Orpik and broke in unmolested against Nabokov beating him stick side for the first Pens’ goal. It was Dupuis’s 3rd goal of the season.
Park started the second period with a nifty move around Isles’ defensemen Steve Staios and roofed a shot that caromed off Nabokov’s shoulder and into the net. The goal was scored just 21 seconds into the second period. Jordan Staal added an empty net goal after Islanders coach Jack Capuano pulled Nabokov for an extra skater with over three minutes left in the 3rd period only down 2-0.
Nabokov played for the 3rd time in four games for the Islanders. He had great success against Pittsburgh in his career going 8-1-0. New York controlled the play in the first period and looked like the better team, but couldn’t get the puck past Fluery. The Isles outshot Pittsburgh 13-7 in the 1st period and 33-29 for the game. It was the Islanders second home shutout loss this season.
The second goal took the mostly Pro-Islander crowd out of the game, many of who expected similar theatrics to last season’s fight filled fiasco. Instead, the game only had five minor penalties and no fights.
Pens star Center Evgeni Malkin returned to the lineup and played 19:19. He had 3 shots on goal and created numerous scoring chances for his line mates. They are still without All-World Center Sidney Crosby, who is still trying to make his long-awaited return from his bout with concussions.
Having season tickets means you get to see all the great games, you also get to watch garbage like this one. Their is no excuse for starting a period the way the Islanders did in the second. They looked like they were still in the intermission and 21 second laters the puck was in the back of their net and the game was essentially over. Richard Park was a nice player for the Islanders during his time on the Island but he can’t be dancing around our defensemen.
Apparently the 2nd-4th lines didn’t get the memo that they need to put pucks in the net. Kyle Okposo had a point blank opportunity to score in the 1st period and did nothing with it; the puck didn’t even reach Fluery and he was 10 feet from the goal. Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau continue to be enigmas. These guys need to realize that your draft spot and having flashing of brilliance last season doesn’t guarantee you anything. Comeau, to his credit, had an edge tonight but he had a lot of offensive zone time and wasn’t fluid with the puck.
The goaltending situation is frustrating. Nabokov and Al Montoya have been steady in goal, but everyone’s favorite glass house has 12 years or so left on his brilliant 15 year contract and he has to be in the discussion. The goaltending and John Tavares are the only bright spots as of this season to date, making an already cloudy situation more difficult. The Islanders need a starting goaltender if its Nabakov, Montoya, Rick Dipietro, or me; they need to know this is our guy. Great teams like the Penguins have a #1 and a #2. The Islanders situation isn’t as concrete as Pittsburgh’s, but never knowing who is playing on any given night can’t build confidence in the room.
Tonight was a clinic for the Islanders. They are not an elite team. Giving up high percentage scoring opportunities needs to stop. Fleury was the major factor in tonight’s loss, but you are only as good as your next game’s starting goaltender.
Thursday’s game is a must ‘play hard for 60 straight minutes’ game for the Islanders. They can’t continue to take stretches of games off and allow their opponents to dictate the flow. Dupuis and Park’s goals are a direct result of not paying attention to detail. It could be a rematch of Brent Johnson and DP, hopefully this time it’s a better result on the ice.
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