The New York Islanders fell victim to their own power play failures Tuesday night and lost to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 at the Nassau Coliseum.
For the second straight game, the Isles went 0-for-7 with the man advantage and as most LIPA customers know, it’s not easy to thrive during an extended power outage.
“We had so many power play opportunities and we couldn’t capitalize on them,” admitted Isles’ captain Mark Streit. “They [the Penguins penalty killers] worked really hard and they had a lot of confidence. We have to get shots on net and we have to get to the rebounds first. I think we can improve. Still, we had a lot of chances but Fleury made some good saves but at the end of the day, we need to score on the power play when we have five great players on the ice.”
“We had some success [on the power play] against them in Pittsburgh but they made some adjustments,” Andrew MacDonald added. “We didn’t get enough pucks to the net and when we did, they did a good job of boxing us out. They were winning those battles and there were times we made uncharacteristic plays. I think we need to get back to the drawing board a bit.”
Overall, the Islanders played a much better game than they did Sunday against the Devils, especially at even strength. “I’m happy with the energy and with the work ethic the guys showed,” Coach Jack Capuano said. “It’s not good enough, I realize that, but everybody gave us quality minutes.”
The Penguins broke less than three minutes into the game on a power play goal by James Neal who easily converted a rebound from just outside the crease.
A Penguins parade to the penalty box gave the Isles plenty of chances to even the score, but the Isles couldn’t get the equalizer despite outshooting Pittsburgh 12-6 in the first period and 12-8 in the second.
Simon Despres made it 2-0 Penguins with exactly four minutes left in the second period on a shot from the high slot that beat Isles’ starter Evgeni Nabokov.
The pace of the game picked up in the third period and Brandon Sutter scored just 1:44 in to make it 3-0 Penguins on a shot that Nabokov misplayed and probably should have stopped.
But two goals in 25 seconds by Michael Grabner and Brad Boyes got the Islanders back in it at 3-2 with more than 16 minutes left in regulation time. The quick strikes energized the crowd and the Islanders, but Marc-Andre Fleury kept them off the board the rest of the way before Pascal Dupuis’ empty net goal with 39 seconds iced the win for the Penguins.
The Islanders return to action Thursday when they take on the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The crowd cheered when Sidney Crosby was hit in the face by an errant puck and left the ice for repairs.
The Islanders expect defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky to arrive on Long Island Wednesday but the team has not announced when he will be available to play in a game.
Josh Bailey is close to returning to the lineup although no specific date has been given for his first game of the season.