The New York Islanders (3-4-0) dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins (7-2-2) in every category on the stats sheet with the exception of one, the score, as the team suffered their third straight loss by a final of 3-0 on Tuesday night hockey action.
New York dominated in both shooting (33-29) and face-offs (30-25), but just were unable to solve the puzzle of Marc-Andre Fleury, who was named as the games’ first star with his herculean 33 saves in the cage for the Penguins.
“We had net presence,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. “Fleury made some good saves, and I thought he played very well tonight. I thought his team played in front of him well too.”
The Pittsburgh offense, still strong minus one Sidney Crosby, found goals in all three periods of play to skate away with the victory at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Pascal Dupuis (3) connected for the first goal of the game for the Penguins at the 17:06 mark, on a 14 foot wrister that went through the five hold of Isles keeper Evgeni Nabokov.
Nabakov continues to impress the Islanders with his play in the cage thus far, making 26 saves on the night. The steady vet calmed down the game on several occasions, and seemed to have been a calming force for the younger guys on the ice.
“We were able to create momentum in the game, but didn’t get the results we wanted,” Nabby said of the loss. “The guys were buzzing around the Pittsburgh net, and just weren’t able to find anything. The team really worked hard-we had the momentum tonight….just not on the scoreboard.”
John Tavares had a golden opportunity to tie things up on an 11 foot wrister at the 19:17 mark, but the forward was stoned by Fleury. Richard Park (2) increased the Penguins lead at the 0:21 mark of the second.
Tavares had this to say of the teams’ effort, “Tonight was the best game we’ve had over the last few games that is for sure. The forecheck was much better, whatever happens we need to get better in some areas and get better with getting the guys to the net.”
The Islanders had another great opportunity to spoil the shutout bid, when at the 6:54 mark,Josh Bailey attempted a beautiful 11 foot backhanded shot. Pittsburgh put the capper on the victory at the 18:00 mark of the third period, when Jordan Staal (6) tallied an empty-net goal.
New York will look to get back on track and a shot for payback on Thursday-when they will head down to Pittsburgh for a rematch. The game is scheduled to air on the MSG Plus network, with the face-off slated for 7:00 p.m.
“We just need to relax right now and believe in ourselves,” Nabokov said of breaking the three-game losing streak.