Penguins 6, Islanders 4: Isles Comeback Falls Short After Blown Lead

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, NY – Coming back from a two-goal deficit, no problem. Holding onto a two-goal lead, not as simple for the Islanders.

Thursday night the Isles jumped to an early lead, but like so many before, it disappeared just as quickly. The Islanders showed fight in the end, but the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins held off the home team and won 6-4.

“They played a good and they did a lot of the little things,” John Tavares said. “And they executed better than us.”

Things looked like they were going to go well for the Islanders to start the game. Micahael Grabner found the back of the net at 1:39 after a bouncing puck made its’ way to his stick, and he fired it past Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff.

Then Paul Martin made a costly turnover in the neutral zone and Grabner took the puck the other way, with Brock Nelson on his wing. Grabner sent the puck to Nelson, who made it 2-0 with his ninth goal of the year.

However, just as quickly as the Isles took the lead Pittsburgh evened it up.

In span of 1:52 Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby tied the game at two. Kunitz scored at the top of the slot off a feed from the Penguins’ captain and Crosby himself scored off a pass from Kunitz, who was behind the net.

Olli Maata made it 3-2 a little over five minutes into the second period and Kris Letang scored while the Penguins were on the power play to make it 4-2.

The Islanders cut the lead to one after Josh Bailey scored his first goal since October 25, but Evgeni Malkin put Pittsburgh back in front by two roughly three minutes later in the contest’s final period.

Kyle Okposo brought the Islanders back within one midway through the third. The goal was initially waved off, but changed after a review by the officials.

The Islanders had several chances late in the game to tie it up, including a 50 second five-on-three opportunity, but they could not convert and Brandon Sutter scored an empty net goal with three seconds left in the game to seal the win.

“We gotta learn to play with the lead,” Calvin de haan said. “We’ve had leads and blown them. It starts from goaltending out. Including D, forwards, everybody. It’s frustrating sometimes, cause anyone can beat anyone.”

And for parts of the game the Islanders played like they could beat anyone. The Islanders played well early nand after Okposo had cut the Penguins lead to one in the third the Isles gave their opponent a run for their money. Frans Nielsen nearly tied the game while the Islanders were on the power play, but Zatkoff robbed him.

However what frustrated Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano was not the missed scoring chances, but the blunders that put the team in another come back situation.

“The frustration part for me was…you gotta move. You can’t watch,” he said. “This is a team that’s gunna skate. It’s a function of you managing the puck properly. Let the puck do the work and play in the offensive zone. And that’s the way this team plays. If we’re going to have any success that’s the way we need to play.”




239 comments
fan42long
fan42long

A Vanek signing for 5 years 30 million would make sense, but he'll likely get more elsewhere. Let someone else overpay. That always seems to work out right? Look at the buyouts in recent years. The big UFA contract that becomes an albatross by year 3. Amac is not a 5 mill player here or anywhere else. I take him at 4 years 14 mill or let walk. Frans is just wasted playing with Regin and Bailey. I'd love for the Isles to find him legit line mates. Regin is a 4th liner. Bailey is an absolute bust and should never see a day on anyone's top 6.

js43
js43

Nobody knows whether he is out the door...Garth has to put a strong offer on the table and sign him...because lets be real...NO-ONE of his caliber is coming to Long Island...1st round draft picks don't always pan out... forget the trade deadline and  hold onto him....When it is all said and done Snow and Wang need to sit down with his agent and offer 7 to 8 million per year...And I believe he will sign...because if they don't...it will be crap hockey for a number of years...

dimaio34
dimaio34

And Matty donavon is going to turn out just fine. Oh and by the way is Brock Nelson a friggin good hockey player or what!!!!

dimaio34
dimaio34

So I'm not In Favor of trading Amac unless he demands 5 mill if he takes 3 I'm ok with that. Not really wanting to move him. So after saying that we still need a goalie. And the question can we sign one in free agentcy? Also I'm not trading VANEK he will sign. Personally I want reimer so after saying all that. Maybe if Toronto takes Amac for reimer I would do it. But you know this all would be way easier if we would have got schneider!!!!

Wc Christopher
Wc Christopher

Donovan cost us at least a point and maybe two against Pittsburgh.

orange2327
orange2327

Much as I like Brock nelson if vanek is dealt and no ufa top six forward signs that first line of JT/KO/BN is not gonna cut it!!!

Isleguy27
Isleguy27

Someone posted earlier that the next 4 games against the Blues, Bruins, Rangers and Rangers could tell the Islanders tale for this season in regards to the playoffs. I've been paying a lot of attention to Amac's play as of late and I haven't been that impressed like several people on this board. McGuire referred to him as undervalued during last nights game. If that is the case, there may be a team out there willing to give up a nice piece for his services. If that were the case, I'd move him. If the playoffs look out of reach in the next couple weeks, moving Vanek and getting as much in return must be a priority for the Islanders organization I would think. He has commented on signing as a UFA as a possibility.

neeza06
neeza06

Vanek and Amac for Reimer and picks? Just spitballing and thinking of what I would look for if vanek has to be traded. (I wouldn't put anything past nonis and the leafs are gonna have cap trouble next year with Reimer at least due somewhat of a raise)

I was 100% against the idea of having a shot of resigning vanek if the isles trade him in march but I've softened up a bit. I think it's at least a decent possibility now. I think the three leading candidates to sign him would be the team he's traded to(if they have the space) Minnesota (if they pursue him nothing is even close to confirmed) and the islanders( if they offer him something between $50-56 over 7)

Of course I'd rather just see them ink a deal now and save the stress.

TonyM
TonyM

@mrcisback                When the trade was made the chances of resigning Vanek were probaly 50/50 at best. Too give up a first and second round pick for a UFA was insane!  For Ryan Miller it would have been worth the gamble. Our immediate need was a goaltender this team could be built around. But that's beating a dead horse, if we going to lose Vanek to free agency we have too at least get a high draft pick in return.

js43
js43

@fan42long I agree let Amac walk... and award that money towards a substantial contact for Thomas Vanek...In addition, Lubo coming back along with Hamonic is going to help things out..a lot...

Don22
Don22

@fan42longAlthough would love to see Vanek sign for 5/30, that is way too low in both dollars and years.  Unless there is something in the CBA to prevent it, he will command between 7 - 8 million per for probably 7 years.  This is his last big contract and he's not going to give anyone a discount.


Although I am disappointed in him, at 23 I don't think I want to give up on Bailey just yet.

fan42long
fan42long

@Chris R I haven't and wouldn't do it. What does Neuvirth bring that Poulin doesn't? I see that as a lateral move. I think the Isles will have to deal with what they have for the remainder of the year and go goalie shopping during the off-season. There will be more guys looking for jobs than jobs available. That plays well for the Islanders chances of landing an NHL caliber goalie IMO.

Isleguy27
Isleguy27

@dimaio34Going to the Jets/Leafs game tomorrow in Winnipeg. Reimer is getting the nod.

dkdk
dkdk

Are you going on anything but gut feel about Vanek? Everything I read has him out the door. Today Spector wrote that he won't be offered more than 5.5 here. And that won't cut it. And his comment of "they gave up a lot to get me, and if they need to trade me I get it" doesn't sound like hell no I don't want to go anywhere.

dimaio34
dimaio34

Hey orange I agree as much as those three are a great pairing it's not elite. I still feel VANEK will sign. But what do you think of heatley I would do a one year deal.

palffy
palffy

@Lyle Odelein Don't forget about that Washington game after the Rangers.  They're closer to us in the standings than any of those teams.  I think after that game we'll know for sure if the season is over or if they have a shot at running the table after the break.

dzruggie
dzruggie

@neeza06 IF they intend to sign him they are not trading him - no way.  

Don22
Don22

@TonyM@mrcisbackI'm confused.  Giving up the picks for a UFA is insane, yet you will do it for another UFA goalie? To me, if one is insane, so is the other.  But I don't think the picks are insane based on the system the Isles currently have.  If it were 3 - 4 years ago, yes it would be tough.  But those picks aren't as valuable to the Isles right now as they are for say a Buffalo, who is starting their rebuild.

mrcisback
mrcisback

@TonyM @mrcisback  I feel the same way about Miller. The Sabres wanted a bigger package for Miller then Vanek. Whats the sense of trading for Miller and make the playoffs with the 7th or 8th spot and have him also walk away at the end of the playoffs. I want a young goalie with some talent thats not a free agent at the end of the season.

fan42long
fan42long

@Don22@fan42longOh I def agree that he wouldn't accept 5/30. Just playing GM and saying that's what I would pay him. I like Vanek a lot, just not enough to allocate 7/49 or similar to him. Those last UFA deals at big money and long term usually do not pan out. I think there are smarter ways to use the money. We shall see. If they can't sign him by the deadline, they really should deal him. Going into the off-season is just too risky IMO.

orange2327
orange2327

Spector said he's not gonna be offered more than 5.5 mil here?? If that's true then it would have been better off keeping moulson and not parting with two high picks too!! Moulson would have stayed for that price if they offered it!! Not to rehash old laundry but the reasons for the trade still baffle me!!

dzruggie
dzruggie

@dkdk He's making $7M + now so I really doubt they traded the assets to knowingly only offer the guy a pay cut.  Understand sometimes these writers need to stir it up, I mean is it really intriguing to say or write that Vanek signs with the Isles?  Better to put it out there he is gone and let all of the 29 other fan bases clamor over getting him.... He may go in the end but let's understand what is in a writers best interest, thats to get readers / followers.  Just saying.....

dimaio34
dimaio34

No I really feel they will sign him. Now if they won't offer more tha 5.5 then he's gone. Unless no one else offers more. Maybe just maybe he stays for Tavares. I could see a dumb team like Philly offer huge money but who's he gonna play with

orange2327
orange2327

Heatley for one year?? Might do it but can he still be a first line guy?? Can he let's say equal what Matt moulson gave us?? Big ifs??

dkdk
dkdk

Don .... And I know it is laughable to some but until wang proves me wrong he will never get the benefit of the doubt. He gets him signed tomorrow for 50m I will apologize. I severely doubt I will need to say sorry,even though I hope I will.

Don22
Don22

@dkdkI know it's kind of laughable to say this, but I can't imagine that even Wang and/or Garth would think they could get away with a 5.5 per year offer for any star player, let alone Vanek.  I truly don't believe they would have made this trade without the intent to make him a bona fide competitive offer.  I hope I'm not wrong.

dkdk
dkdk

Since72 ..... I hope I am wrong, but here is where it lies and wang can finally shut me up and his others critics. If he doesn't blow Vanek's camp out of the water than the dog and pony show I believe in gains even more credence.

since72
since72

@dkdk dk, I'm still thinking about your "dog and pony show" theory.  If they offered this guy $5.5, I would be shocked.  They know the market and they know that is well below what he is going to eventually get if healthy.  I'm thinking that that report is completely untrue.  If it is not, then you are 100% right on your theory - I'm not buying it yet by a long shot - but if they don't offer this guy at least near market value before the deadline, you were right.  And we should just all pick a western conference team to follow until new ownership takes over.  I'm not buying it yet, but as I said, I don't dismiss what you say out of hand…….

dkdk
dkdk

Hey Orange, yes Spector has the daily rumor roundup and then he comments on each. Vanek was featured on Friday. My he article basically had him leaving and Spectors comment was it is widely known that the Isles don't want to exceed tavares payday so if he wants more than 5.5 he will leave.

dkdk
dkdk

Hey dz ..... Two things

1- maybe you can acknowledge now I have a lot of grey areas, not everything is black white. Now we get to the black and white

2- he wildcard is always wang. I am sure you have a lot more faith than I do that he will put a front loaded 50-55M deal in front of him than I do. I am figuring he will backload an offer for about 5-10M less than others will on the open market.

So I would feel if an extension comes it would come soon. If it drags out to July he is gone in my book.

jepliberty
jepliberty

@dzruggie

I remember a game from last year, the Isles vs the Pens, the Pens jumped out to a lead and you would think Crosby was his [Macguire's] SON, it was Crosby this, Crosby that, it was sickening.

dimaio34
dimaio34

Just glad we do. A defining moment in islander history. Same as potvin. Those guys came in and changed the direction.

dzruggie
dzruggie

@dkdk The wild card here is Wang.  This theory has died down some but does this Ratner, and Yormak want to make the big name splash coming into Brooklyn?  To me it is 2 points on our end to overcome, 1: paying him more than JT.  It has to happen and it sounds silly just typing it but seeing how someone wrote (probably a phony story) they offered $5.5M, it is stupid but I would not have been shocked (sickened yes) and 2: Opening up the bank and having the nerve to shell out the bucks.  They may need to over pay and go to the 8th year.  

dkdk
dkdk

If we didn't have JT we would be close to an AHL team.

dkdk
dkdk

The line is awesome, I hope he realizes that he could ride with those 2 guys for the next 7-8 years make a few all star games and maybe wind up in the HALL.

But he is about the money and the Wild likes to throw it around and that is his adopted home and his wife's native home. Lot to overcome.

dimaio34
dimaio34

Well think of this. What if we never had Tavares. Now that's something I don't want to think about

dzruggie
dzruggie

@dkdk I think that is a big deal he does seem to get pumped up when the line scores.  I don;t know, being a competitive person I would think he and his line are pumped up with the stat they are 1, 2 and 4th in the league in scoring since 12/17

dkdk
dkdk

Hey dz .... I'll buy some of that. I also like your aloof point about him and his play. He is supremely talented but sometimes his body language and desire seem to be lacking.

dkdk
dkdk

Dimaio that is obviously our biggest selling point. After years of Derek Roy, JT must be a salvation.

dimaio34
dimaio34

Oh boy never thought of heatley now that could change things. But I still thinks he wants to play with a elite center

dzruggie
dzruggie

@dkdk We could go back and forth all night with pros and cons for signing here, MN or anywhere else for sure.  As for his comment it just seems a little aloof but so does his play sometimes.  It may just simply be his personality.  In NY I think we are a little jaded with strong personalities and have seen and heard guys like Jeter, Messier et al through the years so I get how he can sound so non-committal.  Sometimes we just have to not read too far into things perhaps?

dimaio34
dimaio34

And that's the difference right now. In the rangers game Poulin did the double stack changed the game and last night zatkoff robbed Tavares. So that's what we need right now and we are getting it just at different times

dkdk
dkdk

Dz .... That could be the case with writers wanting to cause a stir, and maybe he does stay, but I still think it is an uphill battle. And I didn't like the comment he made about being traded at the deadline either. That comment wasn't I definitely want to stay, he'll it wasn't even I will play out the season and let the chips fall in the summer.

He and his wife (especially her) are VERY embedded in Minnesota and they have a home there. And a nice 7.5M slot opens up when Heatley comes off this summer. And the Wild aren't shy about spending and they are loaded with young talent.

dzruggie
dzruggie

@dimaio34 Good points.  I agree, the difference last night IMO was needing the big save.  Poulin gave a few at the end but let's be honest, he blew the Crosby goal - no way that puck should cross by him like that.  The other goals (sans the PP goal) not his fault but a huge save there - and yes, the ISles can play with and beat the Pens.

dimaio34
dimaio34

You got that right. He's from Toronto. Anyways just like they said jt would sign and he did. Listen I feel that they just might get it right this time. I heard Doug weight say that VANEK was the guy they wanted all along which explains pa leavin and boyes. And the trading Moulson. So you gotta figure they have a plan and that when the trade was made that VANEK agreed behind closed doors to resign ys never know. Just really want to burn this league up. Still feel we can beat the penguins in a playoff series

dzruggie
dzruggie

@dimaio34 Never.  That Pierre Mcguire (spelling)  is the worst offender. 

dimaio34
dimaio34

Yes and when did anyone give the islanders any respect Most want to see us fail. But in the end VANEK will be a islander!!!

Don22
Don22

@orange2327He still has chops but isn't what he once was.  At 33, I don't think he is going to settle for a 1 year contract at this point.  He's still more valuable than that.

It's funny, but he and Vanek are very similar players.  Vanek is just a few years younger.

orange2327
orange2327

I just wonder if heatley isn't done?? Was an elite scorer in several places and I'm not sure if he will ink a one year deal anywhere!!

dimaio34
dimaio34

True that. Just always liked dany he's had a lot to overcome but a new change of pace and this team is really tight might give him some confidence to get his stuff back