UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The opportunities don’t get much juicier than the one the Pittsburgh Penguins presented to the New York Islanders on Saturday night in New York’s 4-3 win. With the game tied at three and a mere 3:45 left in regulation.
An attempt by Anders Lee to get to a loose puck near the Pittsburgh net was pushed into the corner and sent Pittsburgh’s Teddy Blueger chasing after it. With Jean-Gabriel Pageau coming in to make the check on Blueger, he tried to send the puck off the glass and out of the zone.
Instead, he managed to fling the puck over the glass from a pretty tight angle and gave the New York Islanders their first power play of the game.
To say that the penalty came at a crucial point would be an understatement. The night seemed destined for overtime after Pittsburgh tied the game at two late in the second period and then took a brief lead in the third. The Islanders did even things back up in the third period, but Pittsburgh starter Tristian Jarry was holding them at bay after the tying goal.
The New York Islanders hold an 18.0 power-play percentage after tonight, but they had been 2-1-1 when they score at least one goal on the man-advantage entering the game. In addition, the Islanders had spent part of their unexpected week off practicing the power play.
“I mean we only had one tonight on the power play, one opportunity,” said Jordan Eberle, who scored twice in the win. “We worked a lot on the special teams and I liked the way we moved the puck there. Obviously, it got us a win.”
The Islanders have gone to overtime twice this season and have yet to come away with a win. Suffice to say that Pittsburgh would have given themselves a decent chance to come away with two points had they not taken the unnecessary penalty.
In the end, it allowed a well-rested and rehearsed Islanders power play get a crucial chance late in the game.