The Pittsburgh Penguins had a chance to clinch their 16th consecutive playoff berth and do so against a rival that summarily dismissed them from the playoffs in two of the past three years. Better still, the Penguins had a chance to clinch their playoff berth by beating the New York Islanders, who have had a dismal year.
The Penguins were fantastic in the second period. Ghastly turnovers highlighted their first period, and wide-open play for better and worse nearly cost them any points.
However, without Evgeni Malkin (serving a four-game suspension), Bryan Rust, and Evan Rodrigues, who both left the game (illness), the Penguins rallied from a 3-1 deficit and a 4-3 third-period deficit to force overtime despite playing with just 11 forwards for most of the game.
Rickard Rakell had two assists. Jake Guentzel had a pair of goals and three points. Jeff Carter and Danton Heinen had the other goals.
Our editor-in-chief Dan Kingerski joined 93-7 the Fan and Paul Zeise to break down the wild game–much wilder than most Penguins-Islanders tilts.
The teams combined for 46 giveaways, including 24 by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dan took note of the Penguins generous puck management and their lack of structure in long stretches of the game.
Turnovers by Teddy Blueger and Brian Dumoulin led to easy Islanders goals.
The venerable Mr. Zeise (we’re contractually obligated to call him that) also asked Dan the million-dollar question: What do the Penguins have to improve before they’re ready for the playoffs?
Dan answered with specificity.