Thursday, October 27, 2011

Deuces Wild In Pittsburgh

Kyle Okposo's 200th National Hockey League game turned out to be wilder than expected.

The theme of the game was "two," though the visiting Islanders weren't able to secure two points against Pittsburgh at the CONSOL Energy Center on Thursday (10/27) night.

The Islanders held a 2-0 lead at one point, their opening goal coming on Frans Nielsen's second goal of the year. Kyle earned an assist on the play. It was, you guessed it, his second assist (and point) of the season.

In the second period, the Islanders offense again went to sleep, as it has done a few too many times this season. The visitors were only able to muster two shots against Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.

Still, the Isles held a lead entering the third period, saved by the good goaltending of Evgeni Nabakov and at least two goals saved by his posts.

Matt Martin doubled the lead 45 seconds into the third period. The lead didn't hold, though. Chris Kunitz and James Neal brought the Pens back.

With the game tied at two, and with no goals scored in the overtime period, the Islanders used their second goalie of the evening.

Nabokov had apparently fallen ill (according to Coach Jack Capuano) late in regulation or overtime, and Rick DiPietro, who had seen no ice time this season, was called upon.

He saved two of the three shots he faced, allowing an Evgeni Malkin shot to squeak under him, but the Islanders didn't score on any of their shootout opportunities.

The final score from Pittsburgh: Penguins 3, Islanders 2. A single point earned, and a lot of head scratching afterward from fans and media.

We must take the coach at his word, but I guarantee there will be a lot of hand wringing over the timing of his decision. This is, after all, the Islanders we are talking about. Everything is scrutinized to death. Lets hope the injury turns out to be very minor.

Luckily, the Islanders only have one day off before they return to the ice.

On Saturday (10/29) night they'll take on the San Jose Sharks. The team plans to honor the 1992-1993 squad that defeated the then-Stanley Cup Champion Penguins and played in the Eastern Conference Finals.

A banner was raised for that team. After the events of this wild game, the goalie situation will be up in the air too.

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