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Instant Islanders: Takeaways From 7-0 Pounding By Pittsburgh

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AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Elmont, NY– The New York Islanders were handed a 7-0 pounding by the Pittsburgh Penguins at UBS Arena on Wednesday night.

Both Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin scored twice for the Penguins, who also had contributions from Rikard Rakell, Radim Zahorna and Valtteri Puustinen.

Ilya Sorokin stopped 19 of 25 shots as the Islanders’ starter before being relieved by Semyon Varlamov to start the third period. Varlamov made seven of eight saves.

Meanwhile, Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry stopped all 21 shots he faced, putting together his fourth shutout of the season.

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

Ugliest Period Of The Year:

The middle 20 minutes of Wednesday night’s game was unequivocally the ugliest period of hockey the Islanders have played all season.

The frame began as a scoreless draw and concluded with Pittsburgh ahead 6-0, which is tied for the second-most goals the Islanders have ever allowed in a single period.

Rakell got the scoring going by burying a loose puck that Sorokin had lost in his crease. The score was initially waived off by officials but then soon overturned and confirmed by video review.

From there, the Islanders freefell.

Guentzel showed he was a multi-faceted goal scorer, potting one with a deflection at the doorstep and then once again on a breakaway 12 seconds later following an Islanders’ timeout.

“It’s brutal,” Mathew Barzal lamented. “We were having trouble boxing out and then with breakaways. As a group, it’s unacceptable for us to give that kind of performance in front of our fans.”

Malkin matched Guentzel with two goals of his own later in the period.

As if the Islanders weren’t already in the early stages of rigor mortis, Zahorna piled on for good measure.

Kris Letang assisted on five of Pittsburgh’s goals in the period, making him just the second play in NHL history to accomplish the feat. He finished the evening with six helpers.

No Fight In Front Of The Net:

Pittsburgh made themselves so much at home in front of the Islanders’ goal, the crease may as well have been at the convergence of the three rivers.

“We weren’t hard enough around our goaltender,” head coach Lane Lambert said. “We gave up the interior and the net front far too easily.”

All night long, the Penguins blinded Sorokin and Varlamov with heavy traffic while the Islanders failed to punch back.

Instead, they were too busy watching the puck and chasing shadows.

Noah Dobson, who has been so good this year, was a -4. His partner, Alexander Romanov, was a -3. So, too, were defensive-minded forwards Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Simon Holmstrom.

As a result, three of Pittsburgh’s goals came from incredibly close range.

Revenge For The Pens:

Sweeping the Penguins last year was one of, if not the biggest reason the Islanders made the playoffs last season.

On Wednesday, Pittsburgh came back with a vengeance.

Their win was their first over the Islanders since April 14, 2o22.

It makes you wonder how much worse this loss could look come the end of the year.

Up Next:

The loss drops the Islanders’ record to 16-9-9, but they still hold control of second place in the Metro after falling to their division rival.

The Islanders will hope to rebound quickly as they face another division opponent the Washington Capitals on Friday night. The game will conclude the season series versus Washington.

Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. EST at UBS Arena.

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