Snap Shots: New York Islanders @ Pittsburgh Penguins — 10/25/13

Oct 25, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The New York Islanders celebrate a goal by left wing Matt Moulson (26) as Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff (37) reacts during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to ‘Snap Shots’, our condensed, quick-fix post-game follow up after every match.

Gives you, the reader, bulleted results/impressions/reactions of the game in a flash.

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New York Islanders (3-3-3, 9pts) at Pittsburgh Penguins (7-2-0, 14pts)

CONSOL Energy Center, October 25th, 2013

Game 10

Islanders (4) – Penguins (3) 

SOG: 25-45 PITT

Pre-Game Quips & Questions (Stats courtesy of NYI Gameday Notes)

The New York Islanders would garner only 1-pt this past Tuesday against the visiting Vancouver Canucks, overshadowing Matt Moulson‘s 2 PPG and multiple-point nights for both Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen, with the latter scoring a dramatic late 3rd-period goal to send the contest into overtime.

The Islanders bring the 3rd best PP unit in the NHL into Pittsburgh this evening, while their PK is 9th overall regardless of the defensive woes currently plaguing them.

The problems, however, are with the Isles’s 5-on-5 play, as an imbalanced defensive core and the mix-and-matching of middle two lines have produced some of the most confounding results on the ice as of late.

New York cannot find those much-need high percentage scoring areas consistently enough to improve upon their SOG/G ratio, for as of now, the Isles have recorded 141 SOG with only 13G to show for it. Most of shot attempts are coming from the perimeter, as New York finds it difficulty to transition well into the offensive zone, resorting to a Dump and Chase philosophy that usually results in failure outright, or odd-man rushes the other way.

Players of interest:

The Penguins do pose the greatest challenge for the Islanders thus far–even more so than Chicago did–as Pittsburgh currently ranks within the top 10 in most of the major categories, including scoring (4th) and with the help of some strong goaltending, goals against (6th).

But the Isles can and are that team to get under another’s skin, so what is lacking in skill-set and talent, can be made up for in tenacity.

The road to revenge begins to tonight, as these teams haven’t seen one another since May 11th, when Brooks Orpik ended the Isles post-season dreams. Tonight could be a great turning-point for the Isles if their battle-level is apparent.

Of other notable interest: Jeff Zatkoff (0-1-0, 6.05 GAA)  in for Marc-Andre Fleury.

There is no love lost between these clubs, and rest assured, both sides will do their all to start strongly, looking for any weaknesses upon which to exploit early, so as to stifle any stake to claim in this matchup.

Most importantly, however, no one team is running away with the Division. The Isles can very well swing the pendulum in their favor with strong performances these next three games.

But tonight it’s all about the CONSOL Energy Center and the scoring prowess of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Playing apprehensively in order to avoid the mistake that could turn the tide of momentum may be more an Islander mindset than that of a Penguin.

Let’s see how it all played out…

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Lineups

  • O  Moulson-Tavares-Okposo; Bouchard-Nielsen-Bailey; Nelson-Regin-Clutterbuck; Martin-Cizikas-McDonald
  • D: MacDonald-Hamonic; Hickey-Martinek; Donovan-Carkner
  • G: Evgeni Nabokov

Scratches

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Goals

  • Period 2: (5:59) Sidney Corsby (8). Chirs Kunitz. 1-2

Penalties

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+/

Period One

  • Islanders start strong out of the gate in all zones, and pass the first offensive test delivered by Evgeni Malkin. Play broken up with strong backchecking by the Carkner and Donovan, who were paired up for this particular rush. Later on, Matt Donovan would pick Malkin’s pocket deep in the Isles zone.
  • Evgeni Nabokov with a strong save during an Isles PK against a slot shot by Sidney Crosby.
  • Matt Moulson scores his 6th of the season, his 5th PPG of the season. League-leading stat. Isles special teams are the absolute best and most dangerous aspect to their game.
  • Regardless of the scenario, Islanders are playing on all cylinders: strong, aggressive play in all zones, and aside from some clearing errors and missed backchecking duties, the Isles are playing the strongest TEAM hockey this season.

Period Two

  • Islanders successfully kill the Penguins PP, which is now 0-4 up until this point. The momentum still belongs to New York, and Sidney Crosby very quiet for the most part.
  • The Islanders PK unit playing the best hockey of the season tonight, keeping PITT 0-5 on the PP.  Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas show little fear in jumping on the forecheck if the opportunities arises. Great vision of the ice by both.
  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard with a nice setup play, creating a scoring chance for Frans Nielsen late in the second. Nothing doing, though.

Period Three

  • Nabokov is the most resilient and consistent Islander through 2 1/2 periods of play. Holding off a Penguins shooting spree. PITT outshooting the Isles 39-19 at the 9:00 mark of this period.
  • Great tying goal by Frans Nielsen, off a Radek Martinek and Thomas Hickey series of solid passing, get a much-needed notch.
  • After giving up a quick lead goal, the Isles come right back with a wonderful blueline play by Radek Martinek to then feed Pierre Marc Bouchard all alone in front for the second equalizer in just 1m and change.
  • After breaking his stick and rushing to the bench, Josh Bailey alongside Frans Nielsen, rush toward the Pens net, and after some confusion and bounces, the puck goes in the back of the net for the game winner.

 

/-

Period One

  • Hamonic and MacDonald lose their marks during a quick scoring rush, and A-Mac takes a penalty deep in his own zone to make up for the mistake. Penguins’s 1st PP of the evening.
  • Josh Bailey takes a Hooking penalty, giving the Penguins another chance with the man-advantage. More discipline is needed on even strength so as not to spoil wonderful clip to their overall game.
  • Brandon Sutter with a shot on Nabokov in close, and Andrew MacDonald unable to clear the rebound in time and the Penguins tie it up on even-strength. John Tavares was trailing, jumping late on the play.
  • Too many bad penalities: late penalty by Andrew MacDonald forces the Islanders into yet another PK situation. Playing undisciplined hockey late in the period. Second penalty for A-Mac. Isles shorthanded going into the second.

Period Two

  • [Spoke to soon. Look at first 2nd period bullet.] Matt Donovan shanks a shot and a quick odd-man rush between Kunitz and Crosby results in a Penguin lead. Donovan shows a bit of his Rookie-ness on that gaffe. The goal would deflate the remaining momentum for the Isles, and now resorting to more Dump and Chases, and poor percentage shot attempts. Penguins pressing more as the 10:00 mark of the period approaches.
  • Isles defensive core starting to bunch in their own zone, almost leading to another Penguin goal mid-2nd period. Timeout or a stern speech is needed soon, as the Isles battle-level at all-time low for the game.
  • Awful defensive play all period long, and the Isles front-end all but stifled, and the one scoring opportunity had was a Josh Bailey hesitation play that was eventually turned over in front of the Pens crease.

Period Three

  • Islanders continue their flat, stale, and unprofitable play (to misuse Shakespeare here), as scoring chances are few and far between. No clean entry into the Penguins own zone, and missed marks and checks, one in particular by Thomas Hickey saw him miss a check on Sutter and land him back first into the boards.
  • Penguins take the goal back rather quickly, as Matt Donovan didn’t pick up his man, and that Penguin would score the go-ahead goal. 16 seconds all it took. Donovan is a talented player that just needs more reps. Cure for it all.

 

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 Post-Game Responses & Reactions

  • Period one saw a dominate Islander team, playing at a strong clip in all zones, and because of it, would score the opening goal of tonight’s contest while on the PP. Matt Moulson continues his dominance on special teams, now with a league-leading 5th PPG for the season. But some bad penalities and a bad clearing in front of Nabokov, all by Andrew MacDonald, allows Pittsburgh to tie it up and take away some of the Islander momentum. SOG 8-14 PITT.
  • Period two demonstrated a flat Islander team all around, as the spark was surely snuffed out with Sidney Crosby‘s goal, coming off a bad shot attempt by Matt Donovan. The Isles couldn’t enter the Penguins zone without resorting to the Dump and Chase, and not nearly enough presence established in the neutral zone to be creative entering the offensive zone. Much more perimeter than the previous period. The only saving grace is the PK, but more of that leads less chances to tie it up. SOG 10-20 PITT.
  • Period 3 delivered post-season like dramatics as the Islanders would tie it up on a Frans Nielsen goal mid-way through the period, only to lose it within seconds. But the Isles persistence was finally on full throttle, and an amazingly strong play by a double-teamed Kyle Okposo, sets up Bailey for the game winner. Radek Martinek’s wonderful performance shows Garth Snow to be a genius, at present. The veteran defenseman would tally 2A for the evening.  Frans Nielsen and Matt Moulson continue to astound their opponents as one has a knack for timely goals, while the other has cornered the market on PP opportunities. The last 10 minutes of this game proved that the Isles have the pieces in place to have a successful season. Credit goes out to Thomas Hickey, who broken nose and all, played a spectacular game. +3/2 SOG. Isles PK gets the first star of the evening.

 

Frans Nielsen: 1G/2A for the night

Radek Martinek: 2A for the night and his first points of the season

Matt Moulson: 5th PPG goal of the season. League best

Evgeni Nabokov faced 42 SOG and played excellently.

Lest we forget: Pierre Marc Bouchard with his first point as an Islander–a most important one at that.

 

–RD (@RDNHL)

Topics: New York Islanders, NHL, Nhl Puck Drop, Snap Shots

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