Discuss: Islanders win see-saw game vs Penguins, even series


The Islanders and Penguins battled hard in this one, but John Tavares banked the deciding goal for the Islanders midway through the third period. Then 22-year-old forward Casey Cizikas rounded out the scoring in New York’s 6-4 victory and seemed to demoralize Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in the process.

A few things to consider:

  • Pittsburgh did a superb job of responding to the Islanders’ early goals. James Neal found the back of the net just 45 seconds after the Islanders made it 1-0 and Evgeni Malkin responded within a minute of John Tavares’ goal. It kept New York from developing some early momentum, even if it didn’t end up changing the outcome of this game.
  • Pascal Dupuis has an incredible nine goals in nine contests against the New York Islanders in the regular season and playoffs. He’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and seems likely to get a sizable raise after completing a two-year, $3,000,000 contract.
  • What should become of Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury? The Penguins went out and got themselves a viable alternative for the playoffs in Tomas Vokoun. Is it time to give him a shot? How much heat will Dan Bylsma take if he starts Fleury in Game 5?
  • On the subject, Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has a horrendous .846 save percentage in this series. So goaltending hasn’t exactly been either team’s greatest strength in this series.
  • Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald suffered what the Islanders called an upper-body injury. He was limited to 15:36 minutes as a result.
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Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope

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While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

So, where is Krejci’s game now?

Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks