On Monday, the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins met for the eighth and final time this season. The Penguins came out on top, winning six of the eight meetings.
Penguins establish 2-0 lead
The first period began with a slashing penalty from the Islanders’ Ross Johnston against Jared McCann, a few minutes in. A power play goal followed.
Anthony Angello scored a backhanded goal assisted by John Marino and Mike Matheson against goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov had relieved Ilya Sorokin about 26 minutes into a game on March 27.
The Penguins had another power play, with about three minutes left in the period, when Leo Komarov was called for hooking against Cody Ceci.
However this second lasted only about 40 seconds. Kris Letang then received a penalty call for roughing against Casey Cizikas. Letang shoved Cizikas a bit following what may have been a hit from Cizikas, who seemed to fall down. Both players kept their gloves on.
During the subsequent four-on-four, the Penguins expanded their lead to 2-0. Jared McCann scored off a beautiful pass from John Marino, also assisted by Mike Matheson. Marino and Matheson had both assists on both of the Penguins’ goals Monday.
Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby made a notable attempt at a goal towards the end of the first period. He made a hard shot from up and left of the goal that hit a post.
New period, new goalie
Casey DeSmith, of the Penguins, came in to tend goal beginning the second period. Tristan Jarry had started the game and walked into the locker with the rest of the team, but did not return to the ice or the bench for the rest of the game. After the game, Penguins’ coach Mike Sullivan said Jarry was being evaluated for an upper body injury.
“I don’t have any other details for you,” he said. “Obviously it’s not the ideal scenario for a goalie to sit for 40 minutes,” said DeSmith. He also said he was glad to face a few shots early in his appearance to get warmed up.
Similarly to the first period, the second brought another four-on-four. Officials called a penalty on the Islanders’ Jean-Gabriel Pageau for tripping against Ceci, just as the Islanders were building some offensive momentum. Then, about 30 seconds into the Penguins’ power play Letang took another penalty, this time for tripping, also against Cizikas. Another over one minute four-on-four ensued.
A few minutes later, officials called a penalty on Jake Guentzel for tripping against Jordan Eberle.
Then, about halfway through the second period, the Islanders scored their only goal of the game. Matt Martin, who does not wear a visor on his helmet, scored his first career NHL power play goal. Mathew Barzal and Nick Leddy recorded assists on the goal. Around this point in the game, the Islanders had had seven scoring chances in the second period, and the Penguins zero, although they certainly caught up later.
Toward the very end of the period Matheson received a holding penalty when he put an arm around Oliver Wahlstrom. This allowed the Islanders to end the second period and start the third on the power play.
Despite no scoring, lots of offensive momentum
Although no more goals were scored in the third period, the Islanders kept the puck in their offensive zone for much of the time. With a couple minutes left, they pulled Varlamov to get an extra attacker on the ice.
However, an icing call forced a face-off in the Penguins’ offensive zone, meaning Varlamov had to return to the net.
With only 1.7 seconds left, another icing call led to a face-off in the Islanders’ offensive zone. While they once again had six skaters on the ice, hoping to take the game into overtime, they did not succeed.
“I thought we played really hard tonight, and that’s how we beat them every time this year,” said DeSmith.
While these teams may be done meeting in the regular season, they both have 48 points, two behind the Washington Capitals who are currently first in the East Division. So they may have a chance to play each other again in the playoffs.
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