It was another busy day on the Island as GM Garth Snow got to work on locking down a pair of guys at the opposite end of the spectrum of their careers.
For the guy at the beginning of his career, 2011 first round pick Ryan Strome impressed everyone in training camp and signed his three-year, entry-level deal with the team and will at least get a nine game audition in the NHL. With the Islanders having John Tavares, Michael Grabner, Matt Moulson, Kyle Okposo, as well as potentially Nino Niederreiter at some point early in the season they’re teeming over with young talent at forward.
Strome had a strong training camp and give the Isles hope that perhaps he can be the next youthful spark to lead them perhaps to the playoffs. He’ll get nine games to show if he means business already in his young career. If he can’t cut it just yet, he’ll head back to Niagara in the OHL.
On the flipside of things, the Islanders also signed up training camp tryout candidate Jay Pandolfo to a one-year deal. Pandolfo is making his return to the NHL after not playing last season. Pandolfo had a long career with New Jersey before being eventually frozen out with the Devils after they felt he’d lost a step in his game.
Pandolfo will plug in as a fourth liner and they’ll hope he can show some of his defensive skills that made him a vital cog of the Devils Stanley Cup teams in 2000 and 2003. At the very least, Pandolfo will give the young Islanders the veteran presence to learn from in the locker room.
We’ve said it in our team preview, but the Islanders are a team worth keeping an eye on this year. They may not be a playoff team, but they’re going to be fun to watch.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.
Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.
Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.
It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.
It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.
For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.
Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.
Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.
Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.
The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.
Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:
In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.
Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.
Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were without defenseman Olli Maatta for most of the first period of Game 2 after he was on the receiving end of a high, late hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik.
The hit occurred early in the first period, well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck on a rush into the Washington zone.
Maatta, who nearly fell over as he tried to stand back up, was in obvious distress as he went to the dressing room. Orpik was given a minor penalty for interference on the play.