On Saturday, Semyon Varlamov acted in relief, but tonight he was able shine.
Steve Mears gives his ‘Ones to watch’ as Zooker, who returned after being out for 18 games. Also the line of Crosby-Rust-Guenztel.
Early in the period, Zach Aston Reese and Lafferty almost connect for a goal but, Varlamov and his (cough) magical glove hand was there to catch it. However, the effort caused him to blow a tire, and he had to take a moment to get a new blade. Ross Johnston slashed McCann leading to the 1st power play of the game. McCann is playing of the 1st unit (news to me). The first unit is unable to get any good entries into the zone. Time for the B team. The 2nd unit quickly went on the defense, as Brock Nelson goes in, short-handed, on Jarry. Jarry blocked it, and kicked the puck to the corner. On the ensuing rush, Angello scoops up a puck , from Marino, and goes 5 hole.
Angello (2) from Marino (4), Matheson (4) – 4:24 – PPG
WTF moment of the game: Jankowski takes a Sunday stroll through the neutral zone, holding up his line-mates at the blue line, and then proceeds to lose the puck when he enters the zone.
Noted, The bumble bee line (?): Zucker-Lafferty-McCann are a bunch of speedy little bastards.
Mears talked about the penguins stat for March showing that they are 1st in a lot of the categories. Which caused me to Shhhh the TV. Say that crap after the game. The Penguin 1st and 2nd lines were very noticeable in the 1st period. A lot of good movement and possession, just no ‘happy ending’.
I am not sure if the Islanders know what the purpose of the red line is, because they had a ton of icing calls in the 1st period.
WTF moment #2: Lafferty rushed into the neutral zone, then passed the puck back, BEFORE crossing the blue line. Like why?
Adam Pelech said no to Rust, as he got the best of him 1 on 1. Ceci goes in hard to the net, Varly deflects the shot, but Ceci is reward with a power play. Letang and Cizikas had a sparing match, and Letang drew the short straw as he takes an unnecessary penalty, negating the Power play.
During 4 on 4 play, Math sets up McCann for a tap in. McCann-Can-Can, Yes he Con-Kahn-Khan
McCann (8) from Marino (5), Matheson (5) – 18:28 – EV
The very next play, Sid shot it off the crossbar, and Varlamov started having flashbacks of 2009.
Mears mentions that the Islanders PP percentage had drastically dropped, from Feb to March (~18% to 9% (i think)).
The second period began without one important member; Jarry was out and DeSmith was warming up in the crease. A replay of Jarry leaving after the 1st did not point to any specific injury. The Islanders didn’t even give DeSmith time to figure out his D pairings before the onslaught began. They were pushing hard in the beginning of period. Johnston crashed the net, but surprisingly, he was quickly surrounded by 4 penguins. DeSmith received better protection than Kevin Costner gave Whitney. I was actually kind of shocking to see everyone swarm around, and clear the crease. Who finally taught them how to D?
DeSmith had another close call, as Pulock grabbed a pass from Nelson, and put a backhander off DeSmith. Pageau felt bad for DeSmith, and decided to take a penalty in the offensive zone. Letang, remembering how well the first 4 on 4 went, decided to trip an Islander, as he was about to get beat to the puck.
Beauvillier beat Pettersson to the outside, and does the Rust play, but DeSmith has seen this before. PK complete. Jake took a penalty on Eberle, and we were on the PK again. This was the Islanders 1st ‘full’ power play, and they didn’t waste it. Barzal deflected a puck off Martin, for a goal. I blame Mears for for talking about their flaccid PP in the beginning of the period.
The goal ignited the Islanders, and they started banging bodies left and right. Sidney sent a great pass to Rust, in the slot, but Varley was actually in a good position. That would have been a game changer if that puck went in. With under 5 minutes in the period, Dumoulin does a great sliding block to breakout a shot on net. In the waning few minutes, Martin had a shot on the door step, that had to be turned away. You could hear DeSmith singing, “I woke up like this”.
At the end of the second period, Math took a penalty, so the third started with a Islander power play. Penguins killed it off, and then the game began to open up, as both teams traded shots on net. There was an intense flurry in front of DeSmtih, with under 4 minutes to go, as the Islanders made a strong push to tie the game. At the 2 minute mark the Islanders pulled the goalie, but were forced to use their time out, to regroup with 1.19 minutes left. Varley had to return back in net for the face off. Unfortunately, Sidney was killing his face-off stats tonight, and Varley was not able to leave the net. The penguins pushed hard in the corners, forcing the islanders to ice the puck. Finally, Varley is able to make it to the bench, but the Isles ice the puck AGAIN. With 22.7 seconds left, he has to return back in net. Penguins maintain possession.
- Penguins are 6-2 against the Islanders.
- 16 wins at home. We are like a gorgeous sports car, with $15 used tires. Imagine when we upgrade to the new $150 tires
- It is sad to see March end, but we have a ladder to climb.
- I heard Malkin moved to IR, not happy. Sulley said Jarry had an upper body issue. What is Tanev doing? Why can we never have nice things?
- Next game will be against Boston. Be good people…are not.