Eric Hornick takes you behind the game.
Friday, 10.28.2011 / 10:15 AM ET / News
By Eric Hornick
Pittsburgh 3, Isles 2 (shootout)
Evgeni Malkin beat emergency replacement Rick DiPietro for the only goal of the shootout as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied from a 2-0 third period deficit to defeat the Islanders 3-2 before 18,461 at the Consol Energy Center. The shootout loss extends the Isles’ winless streak to four games (0-3-1) but earns them a standings point for the first time since October 15th.
Neilsen Breaks Through
Frans Nielsen converted a rebound in front of Marc-Andre Fleury at 18:59 of the first for the session’s only goal. It was Frans’ 2nd goal of the season and stopped several scoreless/shutout streaks:
• 1st goal for the Isles in 104:27
• 1st even strength goal for the Isles in 211:04
• 1st goal allowed by the Penguins, and by Fleury in 97:12
• 1st goal the Isles have scored in Pittsburgh in 167:44 dating back to last October 15th.
The Penguins dominated the middle session, outshooting the Isles 13-2 but Evgeny Nabakov was superb in nets to keep the score 1-0. Only 45 seconds into the third period, the Isles made it 2-0 as Matt Martin beat Fleury. Steve Staios and Marty Reasoner earned assists. It was the first point of the season for all three players.
Here Come the Pens
The score stayed 2-0 for only 44 seconds. Chris Kunitz beat Nabakov to break the shutout. Kyle Okposo was then called for goalie interference and the Penguins connected on the ensuing advantage as James Neal tallied for the 9th time this season. Neither team scored the rest of the way in regulation or in overtime. The Penguins outshot the Isles for the game 32-19.
Nobody could have expected what came next. Rick DiPietro was brought in to replace Nabakov for the shootout for his first game action of the season. Islander coach Jack Capuano explained to MSG’s Peter Ruttgaizer “Nabby obviously wasn’t feeling well so we had to go to Ricky.” After a scoreless first inning (Kris Letang and Frans Nielsen), Malkin beat DiPietro for the shootout’s only tally. PA Parenteau, James Neal and then John Tavares all were stopped or missed the and the Penguins had the victory. 3-2 (Shootout) Final.
Home and Road
The Islanders are 3-4-1 overall and 0-2-1 on the road. It’s the Isles’ first point on the road since a 5-2 win in Tampa last March 22nd (0-5-1).
The Penguins win their 5th straight and improve to 8-2-2; they are 4-1-1 at home. Their 18 points are the most in the NHL; however no other team has played more than ten games.
The Isles are now 1-1-1 in the division. They are 0-0-0 vs. New Jersey, 1-0-0 vs. New York, 0-0-0 vs. Philadelphia, and 0-1-1 vs. Pittsburgh. The Isles were 6-13-5 in divisional games last season.
In the Nets
Nabakov made 30 saves but remains 1-2-0 on the season. Nabokov has allowed only nine goals on 123 shots this season (2.23 GAA, 92.7 save percentage).
DiPietro is 0-0-1 this season and is now 19-11 in his career in shootouts.
Fleury made 17 saves. He has stopped 100 of 104 shots over the last four games, all Penguin wins.
Only the Shootout
DiPietro is the fifth goalie in NHL history to appear only in the shootout. The others:
• 10/22/2008 - Toronto v Anaheim. Curtis Joseph replaced Vesa Toskala for shootout (coach's decision). Toronto lost SO.
• 10/26/2006 - Atlanta v Philadelphia. Kari Lehtonen replaced Johan Hedberg (coach's decision). Atlanta lost SO
• 3/7/2006 - Edmonton v Dallas. Mark Morrison replaced Ty Conklin for Edmonton (coach’s decision). Edmoton lost SO.
• 11/22/2005 - Buffalo v NY Rangers. Martin Biron replaced Mika Noronen for Buffalo (injured during shootout). Buffalo lost SO.
DiPietro will be credited for a game played, but no time. He is the first Islander goalie to play less than a minute since Kevin Poulin did so last February 2nd as he replaced DiPietro with 17 seconds to play in a loss in Pittsburgh.
The Islanders were 0-2 on the power play while the Penguins were 1-6. The Isles are now 5-29 on the power play and 29-32 on the penalty kill this season. They have killed 28 of the last 30 power plays against them. The Isles have been held to two power plays three times in their last four games.
They Tweeted It
@RobRossiTrib Shootout between #Pens #Islanders in PGH, not to be confused with the other shootout between #Flyers #Jets [Winnipeg won 9-8 in Philadelphia tonight]
Leading Ice Men
Mark Streit led the Isles with a club season-high 27:31; it was his most ice-time since he played 31:02 vs. St. Louis on March 11, 2010. Kris Letang led all players with 30:16 of ice-time.
Kyle Okposo played his 200th NHL/Isles game, one game after Matt Moulson had done so.
Stuck on 2
The Isles scored twice tonight and are still averaging two goals per game (16 goals in the first eight games). They remain tied with the Rangers for the fewest goals in the NHL.
Fewest Goals Scored, First 8 Games
• 15 in 1973-74
• 16 in 2010-11
• 16 in 1998-99
• 18 in 2009-10 (17 + 1 goal for winning a shootout)
• 18 in 1972-73
• 18 in 1996-97
• 18 in 1999-00
The Isles have earned points in all three games (2-0-1) that they have led after two periods. Tonight’s win for Pittsburgh was their first when trailing after 2 periods since April 3, 2010 vs. Atlanta (4-3 OT).
The Isles have been held to fewer than 20 shots three times in the first eight games (1-1-1) after being held below 20 only five times all last season.
71 to Go
The Isles have scored 9,929 goals in their history (including 39 shootout winners), leaving the club 71 shy of 10,000.
The Isles have two forwards (Josh Bailey and Jay Pandolfo) who have played every game and have yet to record a point.
Best D Since Lockout
The Isles have allowed only 19 goals (does not include 1 in a shootout) in eight games (2.38 goals per game). It’s the fewest goals that the Isles have allowed in the first eight games since the lockout and the 7th time in their history that they have allowed 19 or fewer over the first eight. The club record for Fewest Goals Allowed, First 8 Games is 16, set in 1974-75 and equaled in 1976-77.
In the Circle
The Islanders won only 24 of 62 (39%) face-offs. No Islander won more than he lost. Joe Vitale won 7 of 8 for Pittsburgh. The Isles have won a majority of face-offs in only two of the first eight games.
Milan Jurcina made his season debut, replacing Mike Mottau in the lineup. Trevor Gillies and Al Montoya were scratched. The Isles have three players on injured reserve: Nino Niederreiter, Rhett Rakhshani and Mark Katic. The Isles have lost 41 man-games to injury so far this season.
Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 172 games since joining the team. Travis Hamonic has now played 70 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.
Jurcina’s return to the lineup (11:41, 4 hits) marked the Isles’ first change on defense this season. They had used the same six defenders for the first seven games; it’s the longest streak to start a season since Butch Goring started the same sextet in the first 16 games of the 2000-01 season. The Isles were 24-15-7 with Jurcina in the lineup last season.
Season Series Stats
The Penguins lead the season series two games to none (four points to one). The Isles are now 0-11-2 in their last 13 games in Pittsburgh and 0-2-2 at the Consol Energy Center.
13 years ago tonight: October 27, 1998. Tommy Salo made 20 saves and Joe Sacco had the only goal as the Islanders blanked the Los Angeles Kings 1-0.
Overall the Islanders are now 7-10-4 on this date, including 0-4-1 since defeating Montreal 2-1 on this date in 2000. This date has older historical meaning for the Isles as well – Al Arbour won his first game as Islander coach as the Isles defeated the Rangers for their first time (1973) and Bryan Trottier played his 1,000th NHL game (1988).
On The Farm
Bridgeport is 3-4-0-0 as they start a five-game homestand against Worcester on Friday and Connecticut on Saturday. Justin DiBenedetto leads the team in scoring (7-0-7) while captain Jeremy Colliton, David Ullstrom and rookie Casey Cizikas each have five points.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29TH ISLANDERS AT SAN JOSE 7:00PM
[MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 6:30pm), WRHU(88.7FM)]
The Islanders return home to start a three-game homestand as they entertain San Jose on Saturday night. The teams met once last season, and San Jose prevailed 2-1 in a shootout in Scott Gordon’s penultimate game as Islander coach.
The Islanders will be catching the Sharks on the back-end of a back-to-back. San Jose will face rival Detroit on Friday night before heading to Long Island.
The Isles are 1-3-1 vs. the Sharks since the Lockout, including a 1-1-0 record on home ice. The last Islander victory over the Sharks was on February 21, 2008 when the Isles rallied from a 2-0 third period deficit for a 3-2 victory; Freddy Meyer scored the winning goal.
The 1992-93 team will be honored before the game. To understand why, watch this: http://video.islanders.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=757&id=3904
The Isles will also be celebrating Halloween a few days early. Check http://islanders.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=74535 for information on special ticket discounts.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in “The Skinny” has been gathered from various sources. Follow Eric @ehornick on Twitter.