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Pens-Islanders In-Game Blog

Tuesday, 03.27.2012 / 6:30 PM / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo



PENS 5, ISLANDERS 3





0:00: That'll do it. Isles come away with a 5-3 win, their first in Pittsburgh since 2007, breaking their 13-game winless streak here.

1:10: The Pens have pulled Thiessen for the extra attacker again and are absolutely buzzing around the Isles net. Give them credit, they're really pressing hard.

     "Now that was just beautiful. #Pens #Neal"

                                                           @GallagherWSYC

4:18: Neal whacks a blistering one-timer at the cage with 20 seconds left on the 4-on-3 power play for his 2nd goal of the night. Pens had pulled Thiessen to give a 5-on-3 advantage. ISLES 5, PENS 3

5:48: Staal draws a penalty to give the Pens a 4-on-3 advantage.

6:07: This is just not the Penguins' night. Now it's Malkin who produces a ridiculous effort from his knees to get two shots off at the goal but just can't get it through.

8:34: Pens get another decent chance when Sid produces a Herculean effort to come out from behind the net with a white jersey on his back and hit Dupuis with a cross-crease pass, but Dupuis can't corral it.

9:00: Martin finds some space in the slot to wind up and slap a shot at the cage, but it's turned aside by Montoya.

10:19: Pens kill that penalty off as well and go back to full strength.

12:50: And now the Pens head right back to the PK as Thiessen clears a puck over the glass and gets called for delay of game.

13:30: Pens manage to kill off the penalty to Sid against one of the NHL's top-10 PP units.

15:32: Crosby heads to the box for cross checking and the Isles are on the power play.

18:57: Yikes. New York's top line gets a solid scoring chance to kick off the period. Thiessen didn't know where it was at first, but was somehow able to keep it out of the net.

     "Let's go Thiessen!!! #represent #ibelieve #Pens"

                                                           @volleygirl07

20:00: Brad Thiessen has replaced Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes. Al Montoya is in for Evgeni Nabokov. New goalies for each side. Puck drops to start the third. Game on!


(Getty Images)





After falling into a 2-0 deficit in the first, the Pens roared back in the second with two goals in the first five minutes (Kennedy and Neal). But while the Pens had a strong start to the frame, the Isles had a blazing finish. They scored three goals in the last 7:12 of play to build a 5-2 lead that's going to be tough for Pittsburgh to battle back from.

- Dupuis assisted on TK's goal to extend his career-high point streak to 11 games.
- Dupuis has 8 goals and 6 assists over his streak, the longest active one in the NHL
- Brian Strait recorded his first NHL point with an assist on TK's tally
- Neal and Staal have six shots apiece





0:00: First 40 minutes are in the books. Isles have a 5-2 lead. Pens have 32 shots to the Isles' 18.

1:52: Nielsen gets a breakaway and Fleury sprints out of his net to try and surprise him with a sliding save, but collides with Martin and the Pens goalie's helmet goes flying off. Fleury is slow to get up, but shakes it off and remains in goal. Nielsen scores on the play. ISLES 5, PENS 2

4:40: The Isles strike with 34 seconds left on the power play. Ullstrom is alone at the backdoor and whips one far side past Fleury. ISLES 4, PENS 2

6:06: Sullivan goes off for slashing. Pens to the PK.

7:12: A puck hits a linesman and takes a fortunate bounce right to the stick of Isles forward Kyle Okposo. Though Michalek seems like he's going to make it across the ice in time, Okposo has time to absolutely snipes one top shelf past Fleury, knocking the water bottle out from its holder. ISLES 3, PENS 2

8:06: Staalsy gets an open look in the slot area, but his shot misses the net by inches!

8:56: Impressive moment by the Pens' first unit with the man-advantage. Just when you thought they tried one pass too many, they'd get an open look and tee it off. Isles now back to full strength.

10:56: Cizikas goes off again, this time for boarding. Pens to the PP!

12:28: Pens have already recorded 24 shots on goal. Pretty impressive.

     "That was a fun little pileup. No bruises I hope. #Pens #Isles"

                                                           @Limxzero

14:07: Josh Bailey finds a lane down the side of the ice and drives to the net hard. Michalek and Kunitz close in on him and sandwich him, and they tumble in a heap into Fleury. Luckily everyone is OK.

     "What a snipe job by James Neal. #realdeal #pens"

                                                           @alisonsykora

     "The Real Deal Neal!! Great setup by the Koon as well! #Pens tied back up. This is why you don't panic after 1 period"
                                                           @jgraham1208

15:50: What a beauty. Kunitz and Neal go down the ice on a 2-on-1 rush. Kunitz puts a perfect pass in Neal's wheelhouse, who goes down on one knee to blast one top shelf past Nabokov to tie the score! PENS 2, ISLES 2

     "#SuperDuper with his NHL-leading 11 game active point streak. #Pens"
                                                           @barberza

18:17: Dupuis carries from behind the net and out into the slot area. He fires a shot at the cage that Kennedy tips with the blade of his stick past Nabokov! Dupuis extends his career-high point streak to 11 games with the helper. Brian Strait gets his first NHL point with the secondary assist! ISLES 2, PENS 1

20:00: Puck drops. Second period underway.


(Getty Images)





While the Isles struck first, the Pens have been in it all period and created a multitude of scoring chances they just couldn't finish. Pittsburgh got a big power play with just over two minutes left in the frame, but the Isles scored a big goal (and swung all the momentum back their way) when Michael Grabner tallied with just five seconds left before intermission.

- Despres has skated 4:23 minutes while Strait has played 4:31 minutes
- Martin leads all Pens with 8:20 minutes of ice time
- Crosby is 5-3 (63 percent) on faceoffs
- Neal has 4 of Pittsburgh's 17 shots





0:00: That'll do it for the first. Isles have a 2-0 lead while the Pens have a 17-11 edge in shots.

0:05: After an extended shift in the Isles zone after New York had gone back to full strength, Grabner carries down and beats Fleury glove side. ISLES 2, PENS 0

0:36: Staal carries into the slot and fires a wrister at the goal, but Nabokov whips up his glove and snags it out of midair.

2:25: Casey Cizikas gets a pair for hooking. Pens to the PP! First unit is the same as it was in morning skate: Sullivan, Malkin, Crosby, Neal and Kunitz.

3:39: Now the Pens get a decent chance as Asham holds onto the puck long enough to make Nabokov bite, but he doesn't have enough room to stuff it around the prone netminder!

4:09: John Tavares gets a step on Michalek and gets one...two...tries on Fleury, but he stops them both!

5:44: Pens kill it off. Credit has to go to Pascal Dupuis on that penalty kill. He was an absolute beast out there.

7:45: Strait gets two minutes for high sticking. Pens to the PK.

9:55: New York just finished an extended shift in the Pens D zone. The Isles are fighting to stay alive for one more day - if they lose tonight they're eliminated from contention - and their desperation is showing.

12:33: The Crosby line is buzzing. After Dupuis nearly got a slam dunk opportunity a few minutes earlier, TK almost gets one at the backdoor but the puck was just out of reach. Pens are outshooting the Isles 9-3.

15:10: Crosby enters the Isles zone and drops a pass to Orpik, who rips a shot at the cage. His rebound pops to Dupuis at the backdoor, but Travis Hamonic lifts his stick at the last second to prevent him from having an open net!

16:48: Upper St. Clair native Dylan Reese fires a shot that misses the net and takes a lively bounce off the back boards to a waiting Frans Nielsen, who stuffs it into the open cage for the score. ISLES 1, PENS 0

18:12: Isles D-man Steve Staios absorbs a Dupuis blast near the boards and limps off the ice, going straight down the runway to the locker room.

     "Let's make it 11 consecutive wins on home ice! #pens"

                                                           @xciaobella

20:00: It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh. Puck drops to start the first. Game on!





6:55 PM:
Pens scratch Jeffrey, Tangradi, Vitale, Letang, Niskanen, Lovejoy and Johnson.

Official line combos...

Kunitz-Malkin-Neal
Dupuis-Crosby-Kennedy
Cooke-Staal-Sullivan
Asham-Park-Adams

Strait-Martin
Orpik-Michalek
Despres-Engelland

Fleury between the pipes.



6:30 PM:
Good evening everyone! The Pens are preparing to take on the New York Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center. Pittsburgh is not a city the Islanders tend to fare well in, as the Pens have won 13 consecutive home games against their division opponent since New York's last win here on Dec. 21, 2007 at Mellon Arena. Since then, the Islanders are 0-11-2 in the Steel City and have been outscored 53-19 in that span.

But it's not just the Islanders who find this rink a tough place to play. The Pens enter tonight's game riding a season-high 10-game home winning streak dating back to Feb. 21. A victory this evening would equal the franchise record 11-game home winning streak Pittsburgh posted from Jan. 5-March 7, 1991.

Head coach Dan Bylsma provided updates on tonight's lineup. Forward Steve Sullivan is back in after missing Sunday's game vs. New Jersey with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Kris Letang will miss tonight's game with a lower-body injury and is day-to-day. Fellow blueliner Ben Lovejoy had knee surgery this a.m. and will be out 3-4 weeks, while Matt Niskanen has missed the last two contests with an upper-body injury. Simon Despres and Brian Strait were called up Monday and will play vs. the Islanders.

For the rest of the game day coverage, visit the Pens Report. Or if you're more of a visual person, Steve Mears has everything you need to know in the Verizon Game Day Report.


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