I hope that everyone had an enjoyable day yesterday – Thanksgiving Day for everyone here in the States. May the effects of that pesky post-turkey sleepiness be long gone for this afternoon matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders. If you long for that full belly feeling, settle up to the internet, the tv or the radio and prepare a leftover sandwich from last night’s fixings!
The Penguins and Islanders have met one time this season, a shootout loss here at home early in the season – John Tavares’ NHL debut at home that featured a goal and assist. Fast forward to tonight’s game – home game number 11 and Tavares has 20 points in 25 games (9g and 11a). Look over at the other bench at Sydney Crosby and he is just five points ahead of the man-boy we call JT by 5 points in the same span of games (12g and 13a). Not too shabby, let’s see if Tavares can build upon his totals here tonight.
Two points at stake tonight, are a huge two points for the Islanders as they can move back into the middle of the Eastern Conference and right along side the rest of the Atlantic Division at that.
Trent Hunter is looking to extend his point scoring streak to 9 games, Josh Bailey looks to get back onto his clutch goal scoring pony, Moulson and Tavares are always dangerous – but one player in particular needs to step up his game tonight – Kyle Okposo. Okposo has been all too quiet and finding himself off of the scoresheet as of late. He did hit the post on Wednesday night, so it’s not like he isn’t getting chances or even into position.
The team, collectively – needs to do more offensively. Head Coach Scott Gordon was LIVID when talking during his press conference on Wednesday night. He stressed a team effort on the forecheck, faceoffs, shots, and spoke about players standing around way too much. Personally, I liked seeing fire in the mans eyes and coming out of his mouth – he has begun to find himself as an NHL coach, which is evident in many areas on and off the ice. It’s a safe bet that we will see a completely different team here in the first period then we did on Wednesday.
Live blog coming up in about 15 minutes!
2:09pm Opening draw won by the Penguins – Jackman and Engelland fight straight away. Jackman got some huge rights in – clear winner.
2:10pm Islanders need to capitalize on that early emotional boost
2:12pm Islanders first and seconds lines have both generated some chances and created good pressure in the offensive zone.
2:14pm First penalties are called, four on four play as a dive and a hook were each called. Malkin for the dive Sutton for the hook.
2:18pm Roloson saved by the iron on a Malkin shot that appeared to deflect two times before reaching him.
An aside, I am always amazed at how difficult the Ice Girls make shoveling snow look. I mean the girl with the shovel cannot ever get ALL of the snow into the garbage pail as it misses the top and she always leaves a pile near the door. Oh well…
2:24pm Islanders with a great chance down low, but they missed.
2:24pm Bailey scoresssssss 1-0 Islanders
2:25pm Islanders going to be a man up here, Orpik called for holding
2:26pm Bailey’s 7th of the season assisted by Streit and Meyer
2:28pm Bailey dishes to Sim and he hit the post, much as he always does poor guy. Even strength.
2:33pm Islanders are going to be a man down, Jack Hillen called for a hold
2:35pm Islanders with some shorthanded pressure, Okposo put it on but couldn’t sneak it past Johnson.
2:40pm Park gets the puck along the boards and earns the slot area and rips a shot that hit the post. Seems to be the way it’s going for the third liners here tonight.
2:41pm Penguins have scored, it’s all tied at 1 – Malkin from Godard
And that takes care of the first frame here this afternoon. The Penguins were a bit flat coming out of the gate but have since started to rise up to the pressure the Islanders were giving them. The Islanders need to continue to test Johnson and put shots on, and generate turnovers off of their great forecheck. Make the Penguins pay for entering the zone with speed and keep them to the outside. Hopefully the team is up to task for the second period.
3:02pm Opening draw won by the Islanders, Pittsburgh forced offsides.
3:05pm Tavares with a chance down low, caught the Penguins by surprise. Otherwise the Islanders aren’t getting any net presence today. Seems they are playing a perimeter game.
3:07pm Just as I say that, the Islanders they go to the front and Jon Sim draws a penalty, Adams for unsportsmanlike conduct. And that power play was short lived, Trent Hunter called for hooking.
3:09pm Nate Thompson just got one up that Johnson managed to get a glove on – behind him.
3:10pm Gervais just went off the ice in pain, looks like a leg injury but I am pretty sure he just blocked a shot down low in the Islanders end.
3:16pm Penguins make it 2-1 off of a bad rebound left out open in front of Roloson. It came from a really, really innocent shot from outside. The Islanders should take notes about crashing the net.
3:21pm Islanders finally got some pressure down low, although again nobody was getting down low in front of the net. When they did they couldn’t get shots through as everything was blocked. That tells me that nobody is moving their feet enough and not getting to prime scoring areas. However, the last play by Bergenheim to put it on net got a rebound out to Nielsen who was stationed in front of the crease. That is the type of play they need to execute here tonight.
3:26pm Hillen was just called for interference with a hip check on Crosby, bad bad call
3:28pm And now Sutton joins his defensive partner – double minor for high sticking. Not good.
3:31pm Oh god, Jack Hillen sprung from the box and gets the headman pass and misses on a backhand past a sprawled out Johnson. Park gets the rebound and HE missed the net as well. 2 minutes remain on Sutton’s penalty.
3:33pm Islanders with a absolutely HUGE penalty kill, they need to get the equalizer now. That missed opportunity to tie by Hillen could be a huge misstep this afternoon.
End of the second period.
What a horrible start here to the second, the Islanders were caught flat footed, took penalties and just could not generate anything. They need to drive to the net, initiate hits and keep the Penguins moving so they can open up shooting lanes. I’d be curious to see how many blocked shots the Pens have tonight. Late in the period the Islanders certainly played more of their game, but the pressure came during and immediately following the huge penalty kill. It’s always a tale of two teams, although it’s the same team that has a Jekyll and Hyde mentality, the Islanders. Some habits really do die hard.
3:56pm Islanders lose the opening draw, as they have many of the draws tonight. Pens try a wrap around and it went off the post.
3:59pm Bergenheim ties it up with a wrister off a rush, off the far post and in! 2-2 From Nielsen and Hunter
4:01pm Thompson and Staal throw down, Thompson landed some serious right hands before being muscled to the ice. Thompson got two for boarding, five for fighting. Staal got 2 for instigating, five for fighting and a ten minute misconduct.
4:08pm Some great pressure by the Islanders. Pens take a bench minor for too many men – powerplay.
4:10pm Wow did Johnson make the save of the game! Streit with a point shot and the rebound was gloved by Johnson while sprawled out on his back.
4:23pm FINALLY, they crash the net after a shot and Tavares cashes in 3-2 Islanders!! From Meyer and Okposo
4:28pm Islanders just caught a break there, Roloson was out of position and somehow the Penguins completely missed the empty net.
4:30pm Jonhson plays the puck and Tambellini intercepts and moves it to Sim – who promptly missed the open net and then got a second chance off another nice feed but shot it right at Johnson.
4:32pm Meyer and Malkin just battled it out for position and Meyer rode him wide and wound up with the puck. Great job positionally.
4:34pm Empty net Pittsburgh, they had some pressure down low and the Islanders iced the puck looking for the empty net.
4:35pm And this game is over, final score 3-2 Islanders!!!
Ill do my best to recap later on, I have a game tonight so my time will be limited. Great game and comeback win for the Islanders!