Isles Force OT But Can't Get The W

The New York Islanders (1-1-2) lost 3-2 in OT tonight to give the Pittsburgh Penguins their first win at the Consol Energy Center. Alex Goligoski fired a shot passed a sprawled out DiPietro after Malkin's initial shot got re-directed in front, putting Rick in a difficult spot to get across the crease.

DiPietro played well, making some impressive saves and kicking away 26 of 29 shots. The Islanders also allowed the Penguins to have seven power plays in regulation and were able to keep them off of the scoreboard. But the eighth power play would prove to be one to many as it was the difference maker for the Penguins in overtime.

Speaking of one to many, the Islanders now have taken four Too Many Men penalties in their first four games of the season, two of which came tonight. This is an area that the Islanders need to address as they are literally gift wrapping opportunities for the opposition on a nightly basis.

Josh Bailey stood out for the Isles as he has done for the past several games. He scored the first goal for the Islanders on the power play, with his partner in crime, Blake Comeau getting the primary assist followed by Doug Weight. Bailey was also involved physically as he was the first player to come to Comeau's aid after being dropped by Chris Letang.

The Penguins defenseman was called for an Illegal Check To The Head penalty, an area of obstruction that the league has been cracking down on. However, the replays clearly showed that the check that Letang delivered, although brutal, was completely clean. Comeau just happened to have his head down as the puck was being cradled between his legs and he was spun around with his helmet flying off of his head. After seeing one specific angle, which showed the front of Comeau and Letang's collision, it was clear that Letang and Comeau met shoulder-to-shoulder. But the officials deemed it a penalty, a 5-min Major that was followed by a Game Misconduct and the Islanders took full advantage.

Comeau would return and set up a goal scored by Radek Martinek to tie the game at two. He received the puck down low behind the Penguins net and centered a pass to Konopka which then pin-balled to Martinek, who was pinching in from the blue line. The goal was scored just as the Major expired.

Once again Bailey and Comeau showed that they are an inseparable duo and helped lead their squad to an OT loss against a team that is front-loaded with offense when compared to the Islanders.

Scary Moment: Rick DiPietro was collided into by Matt Cooke. First Cooke threw P.A. Parenteau on top of DP, leading to his first Goaltender Interference penalty of the night. Once he got out of the box he would take another one, this time for skating full speed into Rick and extending his arm to knock him on his back. Ricky laid in his crease for a few minutes before standing up with the Isles medical trainer. Luckily Rick seemed to be alright and played the rest of the game.

It absolutely baffled me that Pens fans could boo Rick with an accusation of embellishing that play. If anything, they should have been booing Cooke, who has a reputation for plays like this, for putting his team down two penalties in a row.

The Isles look to continue their strong start when they return home tomorrow night to take on Matt Duchene and the Colorado Avalanche. John Tavares is expected to return, so it should be fun to see the 2009 first overall pick go head to head with his draft class on Coliseum ice.

-Rob McGowan

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3 Comments

Stacy Podelski's picture

Bailey and Comeau have been a great combination for the Islanders thus far. Looking forward to seeing them play more this year.

George Prax's picture

Matt Cooke is a piece of trash. People are calling for Avery's suspension today because of the slash, but people should be looking at what Cooke did to DiPietro, knowing he's fragile. That's just low. But DiPietro's been playing well, despite his stats... it's a shame he doesn't have much in front of him to back him up but he's been making the most of his time on the ice IMO.

As for the Too Many Men penalties, that's what happens when you have a young, inexperienced line-up. Do you think that if the Isles continue on this same path for 3-4 weeks and they keep taking penalties like that that the coach's job could be in danger/

Rob McGowan's picture

Honestly, no, I don't. The team hasn't taken Too Many Men penalties that often in the past. It's a little surprising actually. The Isles also had about six power plays of their own, so I wouldn't say that Gordon has done a poor job disciplining his team. Nino also took a few bad penalties in the first period and well, he's 18...I'm not surprised at that.

Gordon's actually in the final year of his contract and I don't think the organization will make a final decision on whether or not they extend him until the end of the season. Regardless if they make the playoffs or not, I hope they do. He has done a great job developing these younger players and winning games against teams he had no business winning considering how young and inexperienced this team has been the past few years.