For the second game in a row, the Islanders gave the Atlantic Division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins all they could handle. But unlike the Islanders' winning result on Monday, the Penguins came out on top Thursday evening by the score of 3-1 at the Mellon Arena.
Jarkko Ruutu tallied a goal and two assists and Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves to move the Penguins into first place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the idle Montreal Canadiens.
"I thought we played real well against them," said head coach Ted Nolan. "With guys like Colliton playing four games in five nights and matching up against some of the top players, I thought we did a good job. The kids showed a lot of energy out there."
The Penguins scored goals in each period, while the Islanders' lone tally came in the first period off the stick of Josef Vasicek. Wade Dubielewicz made 26 saves for the Islanders.
Special teams hurt the Islanders, who went 0-for-5 on the man-advantage, while giving up a shorthanded tally in the second period.
"They're a pretty explosive team," said Nolan. "We made a few mistakes and it cost us. We didn't capitalize on our power play and they scored one shorthanded by banking one off Berard. I thought we played okay five-on-five."
Evgeni Malkin scored the opening goal after skating out from behind the net and wristing the puck past Dubielewicz at 6:53 of the first period.
The Penguins continued to put on the pressure, but it was the Islanders who struck next. Vasicek drove to the net and flung a backhander through the pads of Fleury with 3:29 remaining in the first period for a 1-1 game.
With time winding down in the first period, Vasicek found Bill Guerin in the slot for a shot off the left post that bounced into the corner.
Josef Vasicek scored the only Islanders goal
The action got nasty midway through the second period. Following a delayed penalty against the Islanders, Miroslav Satan and Petr Sykora scrapped, with each picking up five-minute majors. Malkin and Trent Hunter also went off the ice earning roughing minors.
Pittsburgh grabbed a 2-1 lead when Ruutu scored on a wraparound, while shorthanded with 4:48 to play in the second period.
Later in the period, Tim Jackman out-dueled Darryl Sydor in a fight, landing a big right jab triggering the end of the scrap.
Georges Laraque made it 3-1 Penguins when he scored on a breakaway, 6:40 into the third period.
The Islanders return home to take on the Philadelphia Flyers, Saturday at 7 pm at the Nassau Coliseum.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Jarkko Ruutu: A pest all night, SHG, 2 assists, hit the post 2. Georges Laraque: Scored the back-breaker in the third, assist 3. Sean Bergenheim: Didn't produce any points, but the Islanders' best forward, 6 shots.
Ted Nolan on Bergenheim, "I love the way Bergenheim plays. He plays with no fear. He's relentless when he pursues the puck. Bergie plays with a lot of energy and a lot of spunk." 4. Brooks Orpik: +2, 6 hits 5. Josef Vasicek: Scored the Islanders' lone goal and set-up Guerin for a shot off the post
Stat of the Game: The Islanders kept the deadly Penguins power play off the board in their five opportunities
Slapshots:Tim Jackman, Jeremy Colliton, Steve Regier and Matthew Spiller played their fourth game in five nights, having played Sunday, Monday and Thursday with the Islanders and Wednesday with Bridgeport…Mike Comrie missed tonight's game with a hip injury…Wade Dubielewicz lost his first game to the Penguins in four career appearances (3-1-0)…Miroslav Satan picked up his first fighting major as an Islander...Mike Mole dressed as the Islanders' backup netminder.
34 Wade Dubielewicz
60 Mike Mole
6 Matthew Spiller - 24 Radek Martinek
44 Freddy Meyer - 3 Rob Davison
4 Bryan Berard – 2 Aaron Johnson
20 Sean Bergenheim – 63 Josef Vasicek - 13 Bill Guerin
57 Blake Comeau – 10 Richard Park – 21 Kyle Okposo
15 Jeff Tambellini - 81 Miroslav Satan 7 Trent Hunter
28 Tim Jackman – 72 Jeremy Colliton – 48 Steve Regier
29 Marc-Andre Fleury
35 Ty Conklin
5 Darryl Sydor - 4 Rob Scuderi
44 Brooks Orpik - 55 Sergei Gonchar
2 Hal Gill - 58 Kris Letang
12 Ryan Malone - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 17 Petr Sykora
9 Pascal Dupuis – 87 Sidney Crosby – 18 Marian Hossa
37 Jarkko Ruutu - 25 Maxime Talbot - 27 Georges Laraque
19 Ryan Whitney - 11 Jordan Staal - 48 Tyler Kennedy
Check out the Islanders TV Game Day tab for complete coverage of tonight’s game.
A NIGHT FOR THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS Join the Special Olympics New York-Long Island Region for an exciting night with the Islanders, when they face Philadelphia on March 29; $50 seats for just $35
The Islanders are proud to team up with the Special Olympics New York-Long Island Region. End mezzanine seats, valued at $50, are being sold for $35 to the Saturday, March 29 Islanders-Philadelphia Flyers game at the Nassau Coliseum.
A portion of the proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to the Special Olympics New York-Long Island Region.
The Special Olympics was founded to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities, including mental retardation, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of skills and friendship with their families, Special Olympics athletes and the community. Through their participation in Special Olympics athletes gain confidence and build a positive self-image, which carries into the classroom, the home, the workplace and the community.
Don't miss this special night. To purchase $50 tickets to the Islanders-Flyers game for just $35 and contribute to a great cause, please contact Anthony Mercogliano or Theresa Redlein at 631.254.1465 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your help!
Click here for more information about the Special Olympics New York-Long Island Region.
ISLANDERS RIVALRY PACK
Be there as the Islanders take on the Devils and Rangers for the final two home games of the season.
One(1) ticket to the April 1st game vs. New Jersey Devils
One (1) ticket to the April 3rd game vs.New York Rangers
For just $85 (savings of up to $35!)
Tickets are available by calling 1-800-882-ISLES, ext. 2
1 - 0 PIT
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 PIT
3 - 1 PIT
Interference on goalkeeper