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Instant Islanders: Takeaways From 5-4 OT Win Over Penguins



AP Photo/Gene Puskar

The New York Islanders defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins by a final of 5-4 in overtime on Tuesday night.

Adam Pelech scored the winning goal for the Islanders, while Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal, Simon Holmstrom and Mike Reilly contributed to the effort as well. Ilya Sorokin made 37 saves on 41 shots in goal.

Marcus Pettersson, Lars Eller, Valtteri Puustinen and Drew O’Connor scored for the Penguins. Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 28 of 33 shots that came his way.

With the overtime win, the Islanders gained two points in the standings that they desperately needed.

But that’s just the box score. Here are the key takeaways from the night that was at PPG Paints Arena.

Perfect Time For Pelech:

Adam Pelech showed shades of Mike Bossy as he sniped a shot past the blocker of Alex Nedeljkovic for the game-winning goal 57 seconds into overtime.

It was the first goal of the season for Pelech and his first since April 6 of last season.

Short Term Satisfaction:

Certainly, the Islanders are happy collecting two points, as they help shrink the gap between them and the Detroit Red Wings down to four.

However, at this time of year, it’s just as important for the Islanders to separate themselves from the teams they’re ahead of just as much as they need to catch those they’re chasing.

They had the chance to do that tonight against the Penguins, but allowing them to even salvage a single point could hurt them later on should Pittsburgh find a way to close the gap.

Either way, they’ll take the two points for now, even if they didn’t come easily.

No Lead Is Truly Safe:

For the second straight game, and now the eighth time this season, the Islanders blew a multi-goal lead in the third period.

Mike Reilly’s fourth goal of the season made it 4-2 Islanders at 10:42 of the third. But just as they have so many times before, the lead for the Islanders disappeared, and this time rather quickly.

Ninety seconds after Reilly’s goal, Valtteri Puustinen drew Pittsburgh back to within one with his second career NHL goal, both of which have come against the Islanders.

Less than a minute later, Drew O’Connor tied things up at four when his shot hit off the skate of Anders Lee with 6:58 to play in regulation.

Cizikas Exits (Twice):

It seemed Casey Cizikas spent more time on the trainer’s table than on the ice, as the veteran forward had to twice leave the game.

Cizikas first left the action toward the end of the first period when he inadvertently collided with Simon Holmstrom in the defensive zone. He was slow to get up before he skated back to the bench and headed for the dressing room, where he stayed for the remainder of the period. It wasn’t until nearly halfway through the middle frame that Cizikas returned to the ice.

Soon enough, though, Cizikas left the game again, this time early in the third after blocking a slap shot from Erik Karlsson off his hand.

Cizikas immediately left for the Islanders’ dressing room and did not return. When asked postgame, Islanders head coach Patrick Roy didn’t have an update on Cizikas’ status.

Earlier this season, Cizikas was forced to miss 11 games for the Islanders with a lower-body injury he suffered while blocking a shot.

Penalty Kill Does Its Job:

Almost miraculously, the Islanders didn’t surrender a power play goal, with a perfect three-for-three performance on the penalty kill against Pittsburgh.

It was only the second time in the last nine games that the Islanders didn’t allow a power play goal.

However, a solid night from the shorthanded unit should be expected against the Penguins, who own one of the league’s worst power plays.

Questionable Challenge By Roy:

After Lars Eller scored to draw Pittsburgh within one at 16:35 of the second, Islanders head coach Patrick Roy asked the officials to review the play, arguing for a hand pass by Penguins forward Valtteri Puustinen.

However, the decision by Roy to challenge the goal proved to be puzzling for a few reasons. Firstly, it was quite evident on the replay that the puck deflected off Pusstinen’s stick after he played it with his hand.

Secondly, and more importantly, it forced the Islanders’ league-worst shorthanded unit to kill off a penalty at the end of the period. Fortunately for them, they successfully killed the penalty, but Roy’s choice to even risk their one-goal lead in the first place was bold at best.

Up Next:

With a record of 23-18-14, the Islanders travel to St. Louis on Thursday to take on the Blues.




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