Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Bad penalty, bad bounce costs Isles
By Scott Burnside
PITTSBURGH -- Islanders coach Jack Capuano talked before the game about the need for his team to stay disciplined. Yet early in the first period, former Penguin Brian Strait took exception to a Matt Cooke hit on one of his teammates and gave Cooke a shot as Strait was coming onto the ice, drawing an interference penalty. The Pens’ Beau Bennett scored late in the power play to put the Isles behind the eight ball early on. The power-play goal was aided by the fact a clearing attempt by the Isles struck one of the on-ice officials in the neutral zone and allowed the Penguins to quickly return to the Islander zone.
Veteran netminder Evgeni Nabokov was yanked early in the second period after allowing four goals on 15 shots. Three of those goals came after he took a Jarome Iginla rocket off the top of his mask, a shot that left him momentarily dazed in the first period.
"I never had that. The chunk was out, and I think the mask is done," Nabokov said.
"It’s the first time I’ve actually felt it," Nabokov said, adding that he was lucky the puck hit the top of the mask as opposed to a more direct impact on the forehead or cage.
"Yeah. Good mask," he said ruefully.
Pittsburgh defenseman Mark Eaton, who was part of the Pens’ Cup-winning team in 2009 before departing for Long Island, where he played for two seasons, signed with the Penguins in February as a free agent when the Penguins were beset by injuries. He drew an assist on Pascal Dupuis’ second goal Wednesday night, his first point of the season. He led all players with eight blocked shots. When the Penguins are healthy along the blue line (Brooks Orpik missed Game 1 with an injury sustained late in the regular season), Eaton usually plays with Kris Letang his defense partner during the ’09 Cup run.
Marc-Andre Fleury’s sixth postseason shutout leaves him tied with Tom Barrasso for the most playoff shutouts in franchise history.