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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Game Recap: Penguins 4, Islanders 3 (Shootout)

The Penguins came from behind to defeat the New York Islanders tonight in Long Island.

The Islanders built up a 3-1 lead only to lose the game 4-3 in a shootout. Tyler Kennedy scored two goals for the Penguins and Jordan Staal added the other. Dany Sabourin got his second win of the season, stopping 19 out of 22 shots and all three shootout attempts. Petr Sykora scored the only goal of the shootout to win the game.

It was a strange game. The shots were 5-3 for the Islanders in the first and the game was very slow and disorganized.  The small crowd was very quiet and the ice quality appeared to be terrible.

Evgeni Malkin was hit in the hand by a shot and left the game briefly, but he did return. Sidney Crosby played but seemed to still be suffering from his undisclosed injury. The Penguins got most of their offense from the third and fourth lines, including all of their goals.  The team turned it on in the third, outshooting the Islanders 18-1 in the final period of regulation and tying the game with just over three minutes remaining.

Even the shootout was strange.  Sabourin appeared to save the final Islander shot, and the referee called it no goal, but the play was reviewed as the puck actually became lodged in Sabourin's pad and Sabourin was pushed into the net.  The video review was inconclusive and the Penguins won the game.

On a side note, the Islanders' third jerseys are definitely their best look.  There are rumours that they are looking into turning those jerseys into their full time uniforms and I think that is a great idea.  Something about those colours just screams New York Islanders.

There is definitely something wrong with Sidney Crosby.  He was off his game and seemed pained.  Whatever injury he has isn't serious enough to keep him from playing, but he seemed uncomfortable and played a less physical game last night.  It might have been a good idea for him to sit this one out and rest up.

Hopefully Evgeni Malkin's hand isn't broken.  The trainers immediately tried to freeze the hand and Malkin did not come out at the start of the second period.  He joined the game later though and seemed to be playing normally.  I think that it's likely a broken thumb, but it's unknown right now.

It's good to see people like Staal and Kennedy adding into the offense.  Matt Cooke and Mike Zigomanis also played very strong games.  Offensive input from the third and fourth lines is what made the Penguins successful last season, so it's great that the same thing seems to be happening now.  It's good to know that the team doesn't have to depend on Malkin and Crosby to supply all the offense.  Yes it was against the Islanders, who are not a league powerhouse by any means, but the fact that both Malkin and Crosby can have off games and the team can still win is promising.

Hopefully Crosby and Malkin are feeling better for the Penguins next game as it is a big one.  On Tuesday the team travels into Detroit to face the team that defeated them for the Stanley Cup last year, along with our good friend Marian Hossa.

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