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New York Islanders Special Team Fail Them Again in 2-1 Loss

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10: Anthony Beauvillier #18 of the New York Islanders scores a second period goal against Casey DeSmith #1 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at NYCB Live at the Nassau Coliseum on December 10, 2018 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10: Anthony Beauvillier #18 of the New York Islanders scores a second period goal against Casey DeSmith #1 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at NYCB Live at the Nassau Coliseum on December 10, 2018 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders special teams cost them another point in the standings as they fall 2-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

This was the fourth and final meeting between the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The season series was 2-1-0 between the two before tonight’s game.

After an embarrassing 6-2 loss in Pittsburgh last week, the Islanders were hoping to get some revenge as they welcomed the Penguins back to the Nassau Coliseum.

To do so the Islanders would have to play a full 60 minutes. Continue to be hard to play against and, maybe, just maybe, keep that power play going.

First Period

With their first power play goal in ten games maybe the New York Islanders fortunes on the man advantage were turning around? Maybe? Nope. With three opportunities in the first 20 minutes the Isles failed to score.

On the positive side, the Islanders didn’t have issues getting into the O-zone and didn’t resort to what I’ve termed as the “super dump” PP-zone-entry-scheme.

The Islanders also looked more comfortable and created more chances every time they went on the power play.

The first would end 0-0 with the Islanders taking a 9-5 shot advantage into the second period.

Second Period

The second period didn’t start well. The Pittsburgh Penguins were the better team out there for the first few minutes of the second period. They were constantly on the offense and in the Islanders zone.

With the way the Penguins play in the second period it didn’t look good for the Isles. Until Mathew Barzal did was Mathew Barzal does.

Barzal, after getting triple teamed, ends up with the puck at the Penguins blue line and feeds Josh Bailey down low. Bailey gets his head up and sees Anthony Beauvillier streaking in who gets it past a sprawled out Casey DeSmith.

The period would end with the Islanders leading 1-0 but even in shots with 16 each. After the second period in Pittsburgh last week this was a much better effort from the Islanders.

Third Period

The Penguins would tie the game two minutes into the third period as the Islanders, getting a bit too comfortable in their own zone.

The Isles failed to clear the puck on at least three occasions it would eventually bounce around Lehner’s left side where Derick Brassard would get the Penguins on the board.

Things got chippy after that. After the whistle Cal Clutterbuck would have some words with Kris Letang. Both would exchange cross checks both would take minors although Clutterbuck wouldn’t return.

Seconds later Evgeni Malkin would get an elbow right up in Casey Cizikas‘ face without a call.

But that’s as heated as it got with the score level at one and head to overtime.

Overtime

The first half of the power play wasn’t great. The Penguins controlled the puck for just over a minute but when the Isles finally got the puck they couldn’t find a way out of their own zone.

Mathew Barzal kept the puck on his stick far too long and got stripped of the puck in his own zone. Luckily, the Isles would get a power play in overtime after a Derik Brassard trip on Valtteri Filppula.

Too bad the Islanders run perhaps the most predictable and slow power play in the league.

The Isles routinely worked the puck to Ryan Pulock…and that’s about it. They did very little else. Of course, the Penguins would kill it, pushing the game to the shootout.

Shootout

The Isles sent Mat Barzal, Leo Komarov, and Josh Bailey as their first three. Josh Bailey was the only one to score. He’s now scored the Isles only two shootout goals this season.

After Anthony Beauvillier and Valtteri Filppula missed Jake Guentzel sealed the win for the Penguins who didn’t deserve the extra point.

The Islanders would go 0-for-4 on the power play, dropping them even further down the PP league rankings. And more importantly dropping a much needed point in the standings.

Three Stars

1. Mathew Barzal: 1 Assist

Aside from a bad hooking penalty in the third period Barzal was dominant for the Islanders. He may have only picked up a secondary assists on Anthony Beauvillier’s goal but he was the driving force behind it.

2. Robin Lehner: 24 saves, 0.958SV%

Robin Lehner was absolutely fantastic tonight. If not for the Isles failing to clear the puck he may have picked up his second shutout of the season.

3. Josh Bailey: 1 Assist, (1 Shootout Goal)

He set up Beauvillier for the easy goal, and did what he needed to do in the shootout (again) for the Isles.

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