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New York Islanders

SLIPPED AWAY: Islanders See Lead Disappear in Loss to Penguins



New York Islanders Lose

For the second time in five meetings this season, the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins needed extra time to settle the score. At 4:34 of the overtime frame, Kris Letang netted his second of the game to lead Pittsburgh to a 4-3 win over the Islanders.

With the overtime loss, the Islanders are now 6-0-3 at Nassau Coliseum and are still the only team in NHL that has not suffered a regulation loss at home this season.

The Islanders blew two different leads in Saturday’s loss to Pittsburgh. The visitors from the Steel City made the most of their opportunities to steal yet another game in their latest trip to Long Island

“We played a pretty good game,” Brock Nelson said. “We did some good things, but I’d like to come away with two points when we play a pretty good game.”

The second line was the best line for the Islanders tonight, as Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey swarmed the offensive zone seemingly every shift and accounted for two of the team’s three goals.

The major issue for the Islanders was their inability to stay out of the penalty box, giving Pittsburgh five powerplay opportunities. Pittsburgh took advantage of one of them in the second period.

“Both deservingly penalties but at the end of the day I just have to use my body more,” Mathew Barzal said. The 23-year old forward now has 30 PIM in 20 games played this season.

“At the end of the day we took too many penalties,” said head coach Barry Trotz. “I think if we play five-on-five we’re in pretty good shape.”

Semyon Varlamov started for the fifth consecutive game and stopped 27 of 31 shots in the overtime loss. The Islanders tallied the first goal of the game off of Brock Nelson’s sixth of the year.

With the goal, Nelson registered his fifth power-play goal of the campaign. Oliver Wahlstrom extended his point streak to a modest three games as he picked up the primary assist. Defenseman Nick Leddy picked up the secondary assist for his 12th assist of the season, and now has five assists over his last five games.

Mat Barzal gave the Islanders a 2-0 lead early in the middle frame, as his shot deflected off of defenseman John Marino’s stick and past his netminder Tristan Jarry. But in a span of 2:26, the Penguins stormed right back for two of their own.

Sidney Crosby netted the first one on the powerplay, as Varlamov lost an edge leaving the net wide open. Varlamov stayed down following the goal, as he looked to be favoring his left leg. He would stay in the net.

Kris Letang minutes later tied this game up at two apiece, as he snuck one past Varlamov, a goal he would like to have back.

After the chaos that had ensued, the Islanders rediscovered their game, as they dominated the final half of the second period.  Josh Bailey scored late in the middle frame to give the Islanders a 3-2 lead, his first goal in 10 games.

“It’s been a little while since I shot one in the net,” said Bailey. “It felt good, it was a good all-around play.”

That lead failed to hold up in the third, as just 18 seconds into the final frame, James McCann scored off a great feed from Evgeni Malkin following an Islanders turnover in the offensive zone. After being outshot 11-3 in the third period, the Islanders and Penguins headed to overtime.

With 26 seconds remaining in the extra period, Letang buried the decisive goal, as the puck deflected off of Jean Gabriel Pageau’s stick ever so slightly, as it fooled Varlamov.

This was yet another game against Pittsburgh in which the Islanders were unable to make the most of their opportunities. They are now 1-2-2 against them this season.

The Islanders are 18-3-2 in the second night of back-to-backs under head coach Barry Trotz and will look to continue that success tomorrow when they face Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon.