New York Islanders goalie Thomas Griess dove halfway to Manhattan to poke check Sidney Crosby on a breakaway. Moments later, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray dove to his right to rob a sure goal from Islanders forward Jordan Eberle. The overtime period was full of great chances and better goaltending, so neither team could win in competitive play.
The Islanders beat the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout at the Barclays Center. Josh Bailey, who scored the Islanders first goal on a breakaway, again beat Murray for the lone shootout goal.
Murray was great. Greiss was spectacular.
The Penguins again outshot the New York Islanders, played physical and had more zone time. Unlike Tuesday when the Islanders pulled away, the Penguins remained disciplined. An ugly goal off the skate of Anders Lee gave the Islanders 2-1 lead midway through the third period.
“We played better in the (defensive) zone but they’re a good team. They play so hard,” said Penguins star Evgeni Malkin. “They play a one-on-one. They play physical. We played better but not enough.”
The Penguins power play flexed their muscle. Evgeni Malkin (7) beat Greiss from the circle to force the thrilling overtime. Malkin has 20 points in 11 games. Write this now– it’s not too early circle Malkin as a Hart Trophy candidate. Players who are that good are able to build on great starts and carry it all season. Malkin has that look.
Actually, the Penguins scored two power-play goals, Thursday and no goals at even strength. Dominik Simon (3) chipped a loose puck through the defensemen’s legs past Greiss for the Penguins first goal.
The first two periods may have tested hockey fans patience. Neither team settled into their game, unless you count scattered, gritty, ugly hockey as Islanders hockey. The Brooklyn, future Long Island Islanders packed the defensive zone, collapsed in the zone and forced the Penguins to look for offense from specific spots.
“(Our effort) was a lot better. The quality of chances we gave up weren’t nearly as high,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan.
The Penguins were not able to crack the net front and did not grind the Islanders with their cycle. The Penguins instead looked for the rush, in part because the Islanders gave them the rush–but packed the zone to keep the Penguins to the outside.
The third period was much different. The Penguins got the cycle game going, and the Islanders opened the game to generate chances, too. That’s when the goaltenders shined.
The Penguins got to the forecheck in the third period and Daniel Sprong also made himself present. The Penguins third line with Bryan Rust-Derek Grant-Daniel Sprong had a few good shifts in the third period. Sprong’s ice time climbed to nearly 10 minutes and he saw a third period shift–after the good work from the fourth line–with Sidney Crosby.
Dominik Simon was perhaps the best player on the ice in the first 30 minutes. He was fast, strong on the wall and led the Crosby line. He was the most noticeable Penguins on the ice for a long stretch of the game. More on Simon in the PHN Report Card.
The Penguins are winless in their last two. The Islanders have won four straight.