It just wasn’t in the cards for the New York Islanders on Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
A goal in the first period, one in the second and two goals in the third helped the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Islanders, 4-1. The loss snapped the Islanders’ eight-game point streak and it was their first regulation loss since Jan. 28 against the Washington Capitals.
“We had a good run trying to bank as many points as we can with the shortened season,” Brock Nelson said. “Tonight was a tough one. I thought we got off to an OK start and played a pretty good first half. Killed off a big five-on-three, had a couple of looks and just weren’t able to get one. Get some momentum and feed off that and then we found ourselves in a hole and couldn’t get out.”
Jean-Gabriel Pageau also had a four-game goal streak snapped on Thursday night and it was the first time since Jan. 18 against the Boston Bruins that the Islanders were held to just one goal.
“To met the second goal really took a lot out of us,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “It wasn’t our night around their net. We didn’t execute on some of our chances to create a little bit more offense. I thought the second goal sort of took a little bit out of us. Then we come out and we hit the crossbar short-handed to start the third and it was sort of like our night.
“That’s the way our night was going.”
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Semyon Varlamov made 33 saves in his third loss of the season and the Islanders were outshot 37-32, which included only putting seven shots on net in the final 20 minutes.
A bad turnover by Brock Nelson near the New York Islanders net led to Pittsburgh’s first goal. Kaspari Kapanen took the puck away from Nelson, turned and threw the puck towards the net.
Sidney Crosby was coming across the front and just got a piece of the shot for Pittsburgh’s opening goal at 4:15 of the first period.
Pittsburgh extended the lead in the second with a goal in the closing minutes of the middle frame. Varlamov had done his best to fend off a feisty Pittsburgh team, but a rebound shot from Teddy Blueger was able to get by the New York Islanders netminder.
Mike Matheson intentionally fired a shot off the wall and grabbed his own rebound, getting off one more shot on Varlamov which he turned aside. However, Blueger was left all alone on the side of the net and he was able to put home the easy rebound.
Pittsburgh added their third goal of the night on a goal from Jason Zucker right in front of the net. Zucker was able to finish off a pass from Bryan Rust behind the net at 9:11 of the third.
Nelson scored on the power play at 15:39 to cut the Pittsburgh lead to 3-1, but Rust scored an empty netter to fend off any chance of a late-game comeback.
The Islanders and Pittsburgh will play again on Saturday. “We’ll regroup and get ready,” Josh Bailey said of the rematch.
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