Islanders Defeat Penguins in Their First Visit to Brooklyn

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Islanders vs Penguins 3/8/16

After going 6-1 on their most recent road trip, the Islanders came back to Brooklyn and defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in front of a crowd of 14,724 in what has been an exciting matchup dating back to 2013.

The first period had a lot of energy and a fast pace that shifted between the two clubs throughout the frame. The Islanders set the tone early with quick passing and a physical edge to their game and were clearly the better team early on. Rookie Ryan Pulock had a great opportunity early in this game to collect his first NHL goal, but was denied byMarc Andre Fleury. The Islanders took the lead on the ensuing powerplay after an offensive zone penalty by the Penguins’ Patrick Hornqvist. The Penguins would push back though with pressure in the Islanders’ zone. Following a Johnny Boychuk shot that rang off of Fleury’s mask, the Penguins scored off the rush after Sidney Crosby fed Kris Letang, who tucked one in on the short side of Jaroslav Halak after Ryan Strome misread his defensive assignment.

The second period started with the intensity of the first, boiling over as Evgeni Malkin and Travis Hamonic go into it after a physical shift in the Islanders’ zone. As the period went out, Halak kept his team in the game as his teammates began to lose their edge, making a lot of sloppy passes and giving the puck away in the neutral zone quite often. The Islanders best offensive chance was a John Tavares breakaway after he broke up a play at his team’s blue line. Tavares broke in just ahead of the Penguins’ defense and was able to get a backhand shot off that was stopped by Fleury. The Islanders’ special teams stood tall for the team in the second period, stopping a stacked Penguins’ powerplay after Nick Leddy was called for a crosscheck against Hornqvist in front of Halak.

The third period started with chances at both ends with each team trading opportunities. The Islanders fourth line continued to generate chances with speed through the neutral zone early on as well. With the line of Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, and Frans Nielsen applying pressure to the Penguins, Phil Kessel slashed an Islander player behind the Penguins’ net, and the Islanders went to work on the man advantage once again. During the powerplay, it looked like the Islanders had an opportunity to take advantage of a broken stick by Kris Letang, but the puck hopped off Nielsen’s stick into the crowd. The powerplay would ultimately end unsuccessfully for the Islanders after Lee took a penalty in front of the net after battling with a Pittsburgh defender ending the opportunity early. The Penguins were unsuccessful in their truncated powerplay, but it wouldn’t be long after that Matt Cullen would take a penalty against Ryan Pulock, and less than 15 seconds in, the Islanders scored to go up 2-1.

Things began to heat up from here. With about five minutes to go, the Penguins began to shorten their bench and attempt to spread the Islanders defense out off the rush. Halak went down with an injury with just over 4:20 left to play and, as fate would have it, the Islanders look a penalty, forcing their cold goalie Thomas Greiss to fight off the strong Pittsburgh powerplay. The Islanders penalty kill continued its success and shortly after, the Penguins pulled their goalie. On the enusing 6 on 5, Hamonic came up with this big kick save against Kessel with 7.8 seconds left to help lift the Islanders 2-1. 

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