The Pittsburgh Penguins had a chance to make the Saturday afternoon Game 4 the last ever hockey game at the Nassau Coliseum, but instead, the old barn rocked, and the New York Islanders rolled. Bad penalties, bad decisions, and a lack of good scoring chances doomed the Penguins, as the Islanders outclassed the Penguins 4-1 in Game 4 Saturday at Nassau Coliseum.
The series is tied 2-2.
The Penguins’ lone bright spot was a shorthanded goal in the waning minutes by Zach Aston-Reese (1), who finished Teddy Blueger’s rebound.
The Penguins were down 2-0 after two periods, but New Yor broke open the game in the third with a pair of goals and dominating play. The Penguins also helped New York’s cause, including an own goal by Penguins center Teddy Blueger which was credited to Oliver Wahlstrom.
New York head coach Barry Trotz did make the goalie change and started Ilya Sorokin, who was very good in the first period and didn’t have to be as good in the second period. Or the third.
The first period ended evenly. Both the Penguins and Islanders had eight shots and no goals, though Evgeni Malkin took a pair of less than desirable penalties. Malkin goaded New York fourth-liner Cal Clutterbuck into coincidental roughing minors early in the first period. Midway through the period, Malkin high-sticked Kyle Palmieri.
“We understand we took too many penalties tonight. Next game we need to focus, play disciplined, and don’t give them any chances to play on the power play,” Malkin said. “…don’t take any bad penalties.”
Malkin also helped linemate Kasperi Kapanen lead all players with three shots.
New York top-line center Mathew Barzal nearly scored his first goal of the series but hit the post when he whizzed a wrist shot past Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry, who was on top of the crease (thus taking away most net).
Both New York and Penguins had one shot on goal with Malkin in the box.
The second period didn’t go well for the Pittsburgh Penguins as New York scored a pair of goals, and Malkin took a third minor penalty.
Midway through the second period, New York winger Josh Bailey was the recipient of a glorious scoring chance and a battle in the crease. New York winger Anthony Beauvillier made contact with Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry, after Kris Letang shoved Beauvillier towards Jarry. A moment later, Bailey’s (2) shot dribbled through Jarry, who was nearly entirely behind the goal line.
Later in the second period, the New York got a little more good luck, and the Penguins got a little more bad luck, though the bad luck was mostly of their own doing. Jarry kicked a rebound back towards the point. Ryan Pulock’s (1) slapshot hit Penguins defenseman Cody Ceci and deflected past Jarry. 2-0.
Officially the Pittsburgh Penguins outshot New York through two periods, but the Penguins had precious few good scoring chances. The Penguins had only two high-danger chances in the second period, compared to six for New York.
Malkin appeared to aggravate his knee injury in the second period but remained in the game. The Penguins’ big center did not have a shot on goal in the first 40 minutes.
In the third period, the Penguins had a chance to come back. Sidney Crosby drew a penalty early in the third, but Jason Zucker took a tripping penalty 29 seconds later, then defenseman Kris Letang took an interference penalty. New York scored on the subsequent power play when Blueger mishandled the puck into his own net.
Just 24 seconds after the backbreaking goal, New York winger Jordan Eberle (1) scored his first goal of the series when he was unguarded in the slot. It was a power-play goal and meant New York has outscored the Penguins 7-4 in the third period in this series.
Sorokin stopped the first 27 shots he faced. Jarry was not as lucky. He stopped 23 of 27 shots.
You didn’t think this would be easy, did you?
“…More of what we did in Game 3,” Crosby said. “The urgency and the battle level, all those little details that go into winning, there was more of that in Game 3 and that’s what it’s going to take to win.”