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Islanders at Penguins - 03-27-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

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-Greetings on another beautiful spring day in Pittsburgh. Things have cooled down a bit compared to last week. It's in the mid-50s. But it's sunny and there are barely any clouds:

-The Civic Arena's demolition continues to progress. The suites on the eastern end of the arena came down today:

-Also, the entrance to Gate 3 has been hollowed out:

-Here's a closer look at the last remaining piece of the roof:

-The current barn is in much better shape:

-The ice:

-The rink:

-If you're wondering where the "juice" comes from for the goal horn, here you go:

-Tyler Kennedy is on the cover of Icetime:

-Don't expect the Islanders to lay down tonight. They need a win to keep their dim hopes alive. Plus, they're not that bad of a hockey team. If they were in another division, they're probably in the playoffs.

-It'll be interesting to see how Dan Bylsm employs rookie defensemen Simon Despres and Brian Strait. He can't really shield them away from some big minutes in tough situations. With Kris Letang out, you have to imagine Despres might see some power-play time. Letang's absence could also mean some time on the penalty kill for Strait.

-Marc-Andre Fleury can tie Tom Barrasso's franchise mark of 226 career wins. That's just sobering to type.

-It's a pretty lackluster night for jersey sightings around the arena. We blame Fleury.

-If you wear a Craig Adams jersey, we'll post it:

-Petr Nedved:

-Rick Tocchet:

-Gone but not forgotten, Ben Lovejoy:

-James Neal All-Star:

-Fans coming in off Fifth Avenue:

-Fans walking in off Centre Avenue:

-Fans heading up to the 200 level:

-Fans viewing the Civic Arena's corpse:

-Former Penguins/Islanders defenseman Darius Kasparaitis:

-Jersey of the Night: This is an all-timer. Wendell Young:

-Warm ups:

-The Penguins' starters are Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Deryk Engelland, Paul Martin and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their scratches are Dustin Jeffrey, Brent Johnson, Kris Letang, Matt Niskanen, Eric Tangradi and the great Joe Vitale.

-The Islanders' starters are Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, Dylan Reese, Mark Streit and Evgeni Nabokov.

-Their scratcehs are Mark Eaton and Nino Niederreiter.

-No Jimerson. No photo.

FIRST PERIOD

19:11: Neal takes a pass in the left circle and has a wrister blocked out of play by Streit.

17:21: Casey Cizikas tries to rush the puck up the right wing boards but Simon Despres muscles him into the boards in front of the Penguins' bench and separates him from the puck.

16:48: A lucky bounce leads to an Islanders goal. Upper St. Clair native Dylan Reese picks up a looe puck on the left half wall and snaps off a wrister. It glances off the left post and ricochets off the end boards. The puck takes a fortunate hop to Nielsen in the right circle. Nielsen whips the puck into the open cage by the glove hand of a helpless Fleury. Reese gets the only assist. Islanders 1-0.

16:21: Kunitz hustles the puck into the offensive zone on the left wing and deals a pass to Neal at the right half wall. Neal pumps a one-timer wide on the near side.

14:15: Off some hard work in the left wing corner by Kennedy, Engelland pumps a slapper form the left point. Nabokov eats it up.

13:04: P.A. Parenteau settles a high pass on the right wing and cracks a slapper on net. Fleury battles it away.

12:50: Dupuis gains the offensive zone and from the slot, he deals a backhanded pass to Staal on the right wing. From the right circle, Staal pitchforks a backhander on net. Nabokov traps it between his legs.

12:33: From the left half wall Brian Strait chops a slapper on net. It hit something in front and deflects away.

11:41: Off a pass by Malkin from the left wall, Neal pumps a one timer from the slot. Nabokov steers it away.

11:30: John Tavares coasts up the left wing and snaps off a wrister. Fleury shrugs it away with his blocker.

10:13: Travis Hamonic chops a slapper from the right point. Jordan Staal hustles to prevent the shot and end up diving head first at it. Thankfully the shot avoids him and ends up wide of the cage.

9:03: Malkin motors up the right wing all and taps a feed to Kunitz in the right circle. Kunitz jabs it on net. Nabokov says no.

7:45: The Islanders will get the first power play of the game as Jay Pandolfo is high sticked by Strait. Brooks Orpik, Zbynek Michalek, Dupuis and Staal take the ice.

7:02: After a steal by Orpik int he defensive zone, Dupus pushes the puck up the left wing to kill some time.

6:03: From the left wing corner, Cooke is able to chip a dump in attempt to the neutral zone to kill some more time.

5:45: The Strait minor is killed. The Islanders didn't get a shot on net during that chance.

5:04: Tavares and Michalek battle for a loose puck. Tavares poke checks it on net. Fleury snags it with a glove hand.

4:51: Streit wires a slapper from the left point juuuuuust wide to the far side.

4:31: Orpik pounds a slapper from the left point. Nabokov fights it off.

4:09: Tavares challenges Michalek one-on-one in the right circle and flips a forehand shot on net. Fleury kicks it out.

3:38: Off a give and go with Adams in the left circle, Asham circles through the slot and curls towards the right of the cage. Nabokov over-commits just a bit and gives Asham an opening. Asham tries to tuck the puck between his glove hand and the right post but no dice. Good idea and effort by Asham.

2:34: Off a rushin to the offensive zone, Cizikas deals a drop pass from above the left circle to Pandolfo trailing in the slot. Pandolfo steps up and fires a wrister which Fleury denies.

2:25: Cizikas is nabbed for hooking Crosby. Five forwards - Kunitz, Crosby, Neal, Malkin and Sullivan take the ice. Malkin and Sullivan man the points.

1:39: Sullivan corrals a puck at the right point and whips a wrister at the cage.

1:17: Crosby chops a slapper from the right point. Nabokov fights it off despite traffic. The rebound kicks to the right circle. Malkin winds up and cranks a wild slapper no where near the cage.

0:36: Staal hustles into the offensive zone on the right wing, cuts to the slot and whips a heavy wrister on net. Nabokov gloves it.

0:25: Just as Cizikas' minor expies, Martin whips a wrister from the slot wide to the left of the net.

0:05: Michael Grabner races into the offensive zone as the clock ticks down, uses Martin as a screen and snaps off a wrister to the far side which glances off Fleury's glove and bounces into the net. Ouch. A brutal goal to give up. Inexcusable. And he knows it judging by his body language. Nielsen get assists. get assists. Islanders 2-0.

0:00: End of period. Islanders 2, Penguins 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-That was a actually a pretty well-played period for the Penguins. If not for a lucky hop and a bad goal allowed by Fleury, this is still 0-0.

-Evgeni Nabokov has played his but off thus far. He's the biggest reason the Islanders have a lead.

-The Penguins generated a ton of shots and more than few quality scoring chances. Nabokov has just been sharp.

-Despres and Strait have looked solid thus far. They actually have looked a bit more involved than in their previous cups of coffee this season.

-The Penguins lead in shots, 17-11.

-Neal and Tavares each lead the game with four.

-Streit leads the game with 8:24 of ice time.

-Martin leads the Penguins with 8:20.

-The Islanders have an 11-10 edge in faceoffs (52 percent).

-Tavares is 4 for  (67 percent).

-Crosby is 5 for 8 (63 percent).

-No one has more than one blocked shot.

-A few sightings from readers. @

- spotted... whatever this is:

SECOND PERIOD

18:45: Staal collects a puck in the left wing corner, circles in the left circle and whips a backhander on net. Nabokov kicks it out.

18:18: The Penguins go to the net and get a goal. So simple. Dupus collects a puck behind the Islanders net, circles aroudn to the right circle and whips a wirster towards the cage. Kennedy is planted to the right of the cage and lets the puck glance off his forehand. The puck squeaks through an opening between Nabokov's left pad and the near post. Dupuis and Strait get assists. It's Strait's first career NHL point. Dupuis has now scored points in 11 consecutive games. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Islanders 2-1.

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18:10: After an icing call, the Islanders call a time-out to get a breather.

17:56: After confirming the goal, the WWE "KENNEDY!" clip is played.

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15:57: Streit pushes the puck up the right wing and deals a centering pass to the slot. Tavares is there with a chance but Malkin hustles back on a backcheck to break up the pass.

15:50: Chris Kunitz. Play maker. Kunitz psuesh the puck up the left wing on a two-on-one against Reese. Reese skates over to engage him. Kunitz deals a pass to Neal in the left circle. Neal has to crouch down a bit to get a stick on it. He's able to snap off aone-timer which glances off the glove of Nabokov and flutters into the cage. Kunitz and Malkin get assists. Islanders 2, Penguins 2.

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14:07: Off a neutral zone faceoff, Bailey steals a puck from Engelland and has the makings of breakaway. As he approaches the net BLA! Orpik slams him into Fleury dislodging the net. All parties appear fine after play is blown dead.

13:07: Staal whips a wrister on net from above the left circle. Nabokov fights it off.

12:35: Milan Jurcina chops a slapper from the left point. Orpik is in the slot and blocks it wide with his right skate.

12:28: With an icing call, Dan Bylsma calls a timeout to give his players a breather.

11:47: Attendance is announced as 18,588. It is the team's 248th consecutive sellout.

10:56: The Penguins get another power play. Cizikas is called for boarding Strait in the left wing corner of the Penguins' zone. That's his second penalty. Crosby, Sullivan, Neal, Kunitz and Malkin take the ice.

10:37: From the top of the slot, Sullivan taps a pass to Malkin in the left circle. He cranks a one-timer off the side of the cage.

10:12: Malkin chops a one-timer from the left circle which is off the mark.

9:53: Sulivan has a one-timer teed up from the left circle but taps a little pass to Crosby in the slot. Crosby whips it on net. Hit hits a mass of humanity in front. Nabokov finds a way to keep it out despite having the world crashing down around him.

9:45: Crosby lifts a wrister from the left half wall. Nabokov eats it up despite traffic.

9:39: From the left point Sullivan slides a pass to malkin on the righ thalf wall. Malknp pumps a one-timer wide on the near side.

8:56: Cizikas' minor is killed. The Penguins generated plenty of chances there.

8:05: From the neutral zone, Matt Cooke hits Staal with a breakout pass to Staal at the Islanders blue line. Staal races in and whips a wrister from the left circle which Nabokov appears to get a piece of.

7:42: Cooke is hooked up by Streit to the right of the blue paint. Cooke takes a tumble but no call.

7:12: The Islanders get the lead back. From the left wing corner, Richard Park snaps off a pass to Orpik at the left point. Orpik fumbles the puck and allows it to trickle to the neutral zone. Okposo jumps on it and races into the offensive zone. He grips and rips a wrister from the right circle which toasts Fleury's glove hand on the near side. An ugly goal to allow all around. It's unassisted. Orpik could make a claim for one. Islanders 3-2.

6:06: David Ullstrom pushes the puck up the right wing. Sullivan slashes him in the neutral zone. That's two minutes. Staal, Michalek, Orpik and Cooke take the ice.

5:53: Nielsen lifts a wrister from the left circle which clunks off Fleury's lid. Fleury appears shaken up a bit but remains in the game.

5:10: Michalek steals a puck off Tavares behind the Penguins' net and whips it down ice for a clear.

4:40: From the left circle, Bailey stettles a puck, spins off a check and deals a pass to Ullstrom in the right circle. Ulsttrom is able to get off a quick wrister which beats Fleury on the far side by his blocker. The Penguins once again gave an opponent to much space to work with in the defensive zone. Bailey and Okposo get assists. Islanders 4-2.

3:07: Staal races into the offensive zone and whips a wrister on net. Nabokov snags it.

2:27: Strait chips a wrister from the right point. Asham streaks down the slot and re-directs it on net. Nabokov steers it away. Tough save.

1:52: And this just gets worse. After an offensive zone turnover by Staal, Bailey snaps off a break out pass from the neutral zone to Nielsen. As Nielsen hustles in on net, Fleury spring from his crease to attempt a breakup. Nielsen cuts to his left and plunks the puck into the open cage. As that happens, Paul Martin ends up colliding with Fleury and ends up striking him in the head with his right elbow. Fleury's on the ice in a heap. His helmet falls off. He gathers himself and stays in the game. That had to have a few Penguins fans holding their breath. Bailey and Reese get assists. Islanders 5-2.

0:03: Martin snaps off a wrister from the left half wall. Staal is in front and re-directs it wide.

0:00: End of period. Islanders 5, Penguins 2.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-That was pretty ugly. The Penguins battled and slowly chipped their way back to a tie game and BOOM. Everything caved in.

-The Penguins' defensive zone coverage was pretty atrocious that period. Like against the Senators Saturday, they allowed far too much space for the Islanders to work with.

-Fleury has had better nights, but heaping all of this on him would be ludicrous. He should have come up with saves on the second and fourth goals by the Islanders, but the other three were fluky or defensive breakdowns.

-Conversley, Evgeni Nabokov has been strong. The Penguins have pressured him quite a bit tonight.

-The Penguins are dominating shots, 32-18.

-Neal and Staal each lead the game with six.

-Tavares leads the Islanders with four.

-Streit leads the game with 16:08 of ice time.

-Malkin is right behind him with 16:01.

-The Penguins control faceoffs, 25-18 (58 percent).

-Crosby is 10 for15 (67 percent).

-Tavares is 7 for 11 (64 percent).

-Streit, Pandolfo and Andrew MacDonald each lead the game with two blocke shots.

-None of the Penguins has more than one.

-A trio of tough jersey sightings by . Jim McKenzie:

-And the always rare Francois Leroux/Marty McSorley combination:

-By way of @

20:00: You don't see this to often. A double goaltending switch. Fleury is replaced by Brad Thiessen. Nabokov is replaced by Al Montoya. No word on the status of each starter.

18:39: Adams drops Tavares with a hard hit along the right wing boarsd of the Penguins' zone.

18:07: Marty Reasoner whips a loose puck in the right circle on net. Thiessen kicks it out. 

16:07: Nielsen tries to snaps off a wrister from the top of the slot but Sullivan back checks and pokes the puck away.

15:32: Crosby is nabbed for cross checking Parenteau in fron tof the Islanders' bench. That's two minutes. Orpik, Michalek, Cooke and Staal take the ice.

14:45: Parenteau grips and rips a wrister from the left circle. Thiessen traps it against his chest.

13:29: As teh Crosby minor expires, former Penguins prospect Matt Moulson chops a backhander fromt he crease. Thiessen boots it out.

12:50: Thiessen chips a puck out of play from his own zone. That's two minutes for delay of game. Crosby will serve the minor. Cooke, Strait, Orpik and Staal take the ice.

12:15: On a shorthanded chance, Strait is in deep on the left wing and whips a wrister wide to the far side.

11:34: Hamonic booms a slapper from the left point. It hits a cluster of bodies in front.

10:50: The Thiessen minor is killed. Crosby rejoins play without much of a threat from the Islanders.

9:55: From the right wing, Crosby flings a backhanded pass to the slot. Despres pinches in deep and leans forward hoping for a re-direct. He's a second behind the puck and misses it. He ends up crashing into Nabokov and dislodging the net.

9:36: Kunitz has not recorded a shift since 17:26 was remaining in the third period.

8:32: Crosby fights off a check behidn the Islanders' cage, moves to the right of the crease and deals a backhanded pass to the blue paoin. Dupuis punches it on net but can't beat Montoya.

6:10: As Milan Jurican tries to engage Cooke in a Roman-Greco wrsteling match to the left of the cage, Despres booms a slapper from the left point wide of the cage.

5:58: Cooke goes offsides ont he right wing. He sort of chops a half slapper near the cage after the whistle then kind of bumps MacDonald. A scum ensues in the slot. Cooke and MacDonald each get roughing minors. Four on four.

5:48: Staal streaks his way through the slot and ends up getting tripped up by Hamonic. Staal crashes into the net. Four on three for 1:50. Crosby, Malkin, Neal and Kunitz take the ice.

5:31: Malkin chops a one-timer from the right half wall which is off the mark.

5:23: Kunitz lofts a wrister from the otp of the slot. Montoya snags it.

4:43: Neal snapf off awrister from the left cirlce. Montoya gets a piece of it.

4:18: Don't go anywhere just yet. Malkin circle saround the left circle and taps a pass to Neal int he right circle. neal snaps off a one-timer which clanks off Montory's glove and and squirts into the cage. Play remains four on four for 20 seconds. Malkin and Sullivan get assists. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Islanders 5-3.

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2:37: Kunitz chucks a wrister from the left circle Montoya battle si away

2:29: Sullivan snaps off awrister from the left point. Montoay says no.

2:03: From the left point. Sullivan booms a one-timer. It hit something in front and skids in on net. Nabokov kicks it out

1:34: Thiessen is pulled for an extra attacker.

1:09: Crosyb deals a pass from the left of the net to the front of the crease. Staal seems to have an open net to shoot at but puts the puck wide.

0:51: As Malkin goes offsides, Jurcinal hauls him down to the ice. A small scrum gathers at the Islanders blue line but nothing comes of it.

0:39: Thiessen is pulled again for an extra attacker.

0:10: Kunits snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Montoya kicks it out.

0:00: End of game. Islanders 5, Penguins 3.

POSTGAME

-What do you make out of this game? The Penguins just had a bad night in net and in their defensive zone. The Islanders took advantage of it and took the win.

-Goaltending was a big difference. The Islanders got tough saves from Evgeni Nabokov in the first two periods and Al Montoya in the third period. Fleury had a rare bad game.

-The Penguins weren't every sharp defensively. The Islanders had way too much time and space to work with the offensive zone. Granted, with two rookie defensemen in the lineup, you're bound have a few flubs, but this was a problem stretching back to Saturday in Ottawa and even against New Jersey on Sunday to a lesser extent. The Penguins need to bottle things up in their own end a bit.

-Despite having the advantage of last change as the home team, the Penguins just couldnt' seem to take advantage of getting matchups as the game wore on. Crosby was bottled up for the most part as a scoring threat. He created a few things with some plays around the net, but he just didn't have it going as a shooter tonight.

-Special teams were key. The Penguins were 0 for 2 on the power play while the Islanders were 1 for 4.

-That said, the Penguins actually looked good on the power play in their limited opportunities. They created several scoring chances. The just couldn't finish.

-Nabokov was huge for the Islanders in the first two period. He simply shut things down for the Penguins offensively. The Penguins were beating New Jersey's Martin Brodeur with similar chances on Sunday. They couldn't beat Nabokov (enough) tonight.

-Nabokov lef the game after the second period due to a "lower-body" injury.

-Fleury got knocked around a little bit in the second period. Dan Bylsma said he was not pulled at the start of the third due to medical reasons.

-The Penguins outshot the Islanders by more than a 2-1 margin. Goaltending was huge for New York.

-James Neal did his share. He produced two goals and put a ton of pucks on net. He was not the problem tonight.

-You have to imagine Kris Letang would have made a difference tonight. As we stated before, the Islanders had too much time and space to operate with offensively. Letang would have cut into a lot of that.

-Don't take anything away from the Islanders. THey are a talented team which is developing into a playoff contender. They aren't quite there this season, but if they can stay healthy, they'll challenge for a playoff spot next season.

-Simon Despres and Brian Strait were okay. Their minutes were limited to under 14. They each got involved in the offense but that was probably out of necessity given the fact that the Islanders led most of the game.

-The Penguins dominated shots, 54-25.

-Neal led the game with 12. Yeesh.

-John Tavares led the Islanders with five.

-Mark Streit led the game with 24:12 of ice time.

-Evgeni Malkin was right behind him with 24:11.

-The Penguins controlled faceoffs, 40-24 (63 percent).

-Crosby was 15 for 21 (71 percent).

-Tavares was 9 for 17 (53 percent).

-Jay Pandolfo led the game with four blocked shots.

-Zbynek Michalek and Brooks Orpik each led the Penguins with three.

-The Penguins had their 10-game home winning streak snapped.

-The Penguins had a 13-game home winning streak against the Islanders snapped. The Islanders' last win in Pittsburgh was Dec. 21, 2007. New York won 4-2. Dany Sabourin made 20 saves for the Penguins.

-Pascal Dupuis extended his career best scoring streak to 11 games.

-Neal (84 points) moved past Darius Kasparaitis (83) and Milan Kraft (82) for 98th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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