ELMONT, N.Y. — The Pittsburgh Penguins earned their second shot of the second period a mere 11 minutes after it began.
And then the scorekeepers took it away.
Only Sonny Corleone had a worse time on the Long Beach causeway.
It was the microcosm of the Penguins’ night. There was no comeback or revival. They should have made a left at Albuquerque. There was no bright side of life. Broken coverages, turnovers, and miscues highlighted their 5-1 loss to the Gorton’s Fisherman New York Islanders at UBS Arena on Tuesday.
What went wrong?
“I have no answer for you,” said coach Mike Sullivan.
It was the first day back from the NHL holiday break. There was no practice Monday and no team gatherings until Tuesday morning.
The Penguins were behind almost in the first minute of the game.
“Poor execution. One of the things we talked about was playing straight ahead early on, simplifying the game, especially after coming off a break,” Sullivan said. “You know, our experience tells us that it takes a little bit after having a few days off like that. We wanted to simplify the game and play straight ahead. We did none of the above.”
Perhaps the Penguins still haven’t had an entire team gathering. The Islanders outshot the Penguins. 19-5, in the second period and 43-20 overall.
Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel was possibly injured on a hard hit by Oliver Wahlstrom in the first period. He played one shift in the second before exiting the game. The Penguins rotated five defensemen, which only added to the chaotic performance.
The report card is full of grades that only the Delta House could achieve.