Missed opportunity

March 25, 2008

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The Penguins drop a 4-1 loss to the undermanned Islanders and fail to clinch a playoff spot.

PREGAME

-What in the name of Vidal Sassoon is going on? Brian "Garth Algar" Engblom is doing the color commentary tonight. That mullet is just intense.

-Joe Beninati is the play-by-play guy. He normally does Capitals games. He's a fine announcer, but he seems to have a voice that would be better suited for the X Games or paintball or some other sport where it would be acceptable to say "dude" a lot.

-Wade Dubielewicz tells the audience at home that he's "mic'ed" up. He sounds like a 11-year-old boy.

-The Penguins scratches are Sidney Crosby (ankle), Pascal Dupuis (child birth) and Dany Sabourin (lack of ability).

-With Dupuis out of the lineup, the Penguins will go with seven defensemen. Rob Scuderi will make his return from a broken finger.

-New York scratched Bruno Gervais, Andy Hilbert, Ruslan Fedotenko, Brendan Witt, Frans Nielsen and Rick DiPietro.

-Ty Conklin gets the start in net somewhat surprisingly.

-Dubielewicz is his counterpart in the Islanders' net.

FIRST PERIOD

17:26: Scuderi's first notable action sees him get run over by Steve Regier behind the Penguins net.

17:24: Jeremy Colliton is sent off for something.

16:59: Versus can't be bothered to tell us who got the penalty or even for what, but they can tell us the Amp Energy power-play statistics. Dude!

16:38: Holy Mike Bossy. When did Richard Park get a slap shot? He takes a cross-ice pass from Kyle Okposo. Park enters the offensive zone and simply blows a slapper by Conklin on the right side. That was a terrible goal to give up. Islanders 1-0.

16:02: Jeff Taffe fires a shot from near the left faceoff circle. Dubielewicz makes the initial save but gives up a rebound. Tyler Kennedy moves the puck over to Sykora who goes top shelf with another laser from along the goal line. The puck ricochets right off the bar in the net and bounces out immediately. An Islanders player sweeps it out of the crease. The red light goes off and the officials call the goal off. A replay reverses the officials' call. That was a interesting unit of forwards the Penguins had out there following the short-handed goal. Kennedy, Taffe and Sykora. Islanders 1, Penguins 1.

15:27: Aaron Johnson is called for slashing Georges Laraque. Jarkko Ruutu gets in his face to give him his opinion on Barrack Obama's voting record. We think.

14:43: Sergei Gonchar blasts a slapper from the point. Dubielewicz kicks it out with a "thud."

14:20: Enblom mentions Ryan Malone learned how to play in front of the net from John LeClair. Hopefully he didn't learn how to play behind the net from LeClair.

13:05: Maxime Talbot absolutely hammers Blake Comeau along the blue line.

13:00: Matthew Spiller gives a shove to Talbot. The whistle blows. Spiller and Ruutu exchanges shoves. Laraque puts a big mit over Spiller's shoulder. Comeau gets up and leaves the ice hunched over.

12:35: Taffe directs a puck on net from the slot. Dubielewicz kicks it out. Jordan Staal is on the doorstep and tries to punch in the rebound. Dubielewicz knocks it away with a fine stick save.

10:50: A three on one develops for the Islanders against Scuderi. Bill Guerin sends the puck over to Josef Vasicek on the left wing. He drops it in the slot for Sean Bergenheim who fires a wrister on net. Conklin makes the save with his right leg but leaves a rebound in the crease. Bergenheim tries to follow up on it but ends up skating into Conklin and the net which ends up dislodged. The Penguins dodged a bullet on that one.

9:12: It's mentioned that the Islanders have a dozen guys on the shelf with injuries or illness, including their top four defenseman. And we thought the Penguins had some injury problems.

8:32: Trent Hunter throws a puck on net. Conklin gloves it. "Surrender" by Cheap Trick is played:

8:27: A close-up of Dubielewicz's helmet shows he has the old Gorton's fish stick logo on his mask. We're pretty sure we've brought this up in the past but didn't anyone tell him that wasn't popular up there?

8:02: Taffe clips Johnson in the face. Two minutes.

7:14: Miroslav Satan condemns Malone's ankle to (heck) as he sneaks in from the point and blasts a slapper. Malone blocks it with his ankle and comes away with a slight limp.

6:15: Bryan Berard throws a shot on net that Conklin eats up.

6:10: Off the faceoff, Rob Davison blasts a slapper. Conklin finds it in traffic and absorbs it.

5:48: As the Islanders dump a puck into the Penguins' zone. Taffe and Davison exchange their thoughts on the Teapot Dome scandal. We think. Davison gets two minutes for cross checking.

4:04: Marian Hossa takes a cross-ice pass, holds the puck and fires a wrist shot low. Dubielewicz closes up the five hole and freezes the puck.

3:52: Hunter enters the Penguins' zone and blasts a slapper on net. Conklin easily stops it and covers the puck.

2:38: Laraque crunches Davison in the corner.

2:18: Ruutu crashes into Davison in the corner as well.

1:53: Ruutu is called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

1:48: Bob Harwood, the "sideline" reporter for Versus informs us that Ruutu was given that penalty because he thought he got clipped in the face with an elbow and went after the player who did it.

0:00: End of period. Islanders 1, Penguins 1.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-The shots were tied, 12-12.

-The Islanders won the faceoffs, 13-8.

SECOND PERIOD

18:04: As Mike Yeo gets some love, we get a view of the "front" row of seats at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum which is like six feet behind the boards. Really weird.

18:07: Enblom explains why the Malone-Malkin-Sykora line is called the "Steel City Trio." Malkin and Sykora played together in Magnitogorsk, Russia which is a manufacturing center for steel and Malone was born in Pittsburgh which has roots in steel that we're all familiar with. Like The Pensblog said, that's kind of lame. Try again.

16:23: Martinek tries to throw a puck on net from a bad angle. No dice.

15:50: Satan throws a spinning wrister on net that Conklin kicks out with his right leg.

13:09: Sykora appears to get away with a high-stick on Davison.

12:03ish: Guerin rings a shot off the cross bar from the slot. (Thanks for not having the game clock up Versus.) Replays actually show the net shaking after the puck hit it.

11:20: Comeau gets a shot off from the left faceoff circle. Conklin kicks it out.

9:51: Jeff Tambellini throws a shot on net from the left wing. Conklin covers it up.

8:16: A nifty pass leads to a pretty goal. Vasicek takes the puck into the slot and traffic. He leaves a drop pass for Guerin who streaks in the right side. He bears down on the net and lifts a shot over Conklin's glove hand. The puck clinks off the post and hits the net. Very nice goal. Islanders 2-1.

6:25: Freddy Meyer bangs Staal to the ice with a shoulder check.

5:29: Sykora is called for slashing.

5:08: Guerin throws a shot on net from the slot. Conklin is there with the initial save. Bergenheim is there too in the crease and swats the rebound into the net. Gonchar does a poor job keeping track of Bergenheim. He doesn't even make contact with Bergenheim until the puck has gone into the net. Islanders 3-1.

3:21: Sykora takes a stick in the face. No call.

2:24: Tim Jackman is nabbed for tripping.

1:40: Despite having Malone sitting on his lap like a kid asking a mall Santa Claus for a Constructicon, Dubielewicz is able to makes a save on a slap shot by Gonchar from the point.

0:00: End of period. Islanders 3, Penguins 1.

SECOND PERIOD

-The Islanders are up 26-15 in shots.

-New York is up 23-15 faceoffs.

-While being interviewed before the period, Malone says, "I don't know what we're doing out there."

THIRD PERIOD

17:18: Malkin blasts a slapper from center ice on net. Jackman pops him with a check.

17:02: Chris Minard takes a pass from Laraque along the blue line and fires a wrister. Dubielewicz eats it up.

14:26: Staal is called for holding Tambellini.

14:04: Berard blasts a slapper from the point. Conklin makes the save. The rebound is there for Vasicek to pound home but Scuderi clears it away.

11:48: Kris Letang steals a puck and gets tripped up by Davison. Two minutes.

10:22: Colliton shoots the puck from the right wing. Conklin gloves it and tries to dish it to Ryan Whitney. It bounces off Whitney's hip and sort of bounces towards the open net before Whitney controls it. Beninati compares Conklin to an option quarterback. Pat White not impressed.

7:19: Satan drives fires a shot that goes behind the net. He out-works Letang for the rebound and slides it into the slot. Hunter follows up on it and fires it by a helpless Conklin. Islanders 4-1.

5:49: Colliton is called for tripping.

1:48: Gonchar gets sent to the box for high-sticking. He cross-checked Meyer in the head actually.

0:26: Malone brings the puck up ice, puts a nice move around Johnson and has Dubielewicz dead to rights. Malone completely misses the net and puts the shot in the third row.

0:00: End of game. Islanders 4, Penguins 1.

POSTGAME

-This was an inexcusable loss. The Islanders are so depleted by injuries, you could've called them the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. That's the AHL affiliate of the Islanders. The Penguins needed a win to clinch a playoff spot and they got out-worked by a weaker, less talented team.

-This was almost as bad as being a win away from closing out a playoff series and failing to get the job done.

-Conklin was not sharp, but he didn't get a lot of help.

-The Islanders out-shot the Penguins, 36-29.

-New York controlled the faceoffs, 35-20.

-Marian Hossa and Evgeni Malkin were a minus -3.

-Dave Molinari's recap.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights.

ABOUT THE DEVILS

A preview of the Devils

Record: 42-26-7

Leading Scorer: Zach Parise, 62 points (30 goals, 32 assists).

Last Game: 7-1 loss in Pittsburgh Saturday.

Last Game against the Penguins: Ditto.

Devils Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Brian Gionta. After that goal he scored against the Penguins Saturday, we're not betting against him.

Ex-Penguins: Ian Moran, D (with the Lowell Devils of the AHL), Tommy Plasko, former massage therapist,

Useless Devils Trivia: The only Devils players to hit the 90-point mark in a season are Patrik Elias (96 in 2000-01) and Kirk Muller (94 in 1987-88).

Best Devils YouTube Video We Could Find: In his only NHL playoff game, Victor Ignatjev managed to get Lyle Odelein and Scott Niedermayer to try and attack him following the game.

NOTES:

-Devils forward Patrik Elias will play tonight. He has missed the last two games due to a knee injury.

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-Playoff tickets go on sale Friday.

-Will we see Dany Sabourin play at all the rest of the season?

-While watching the NHL Network's "On The Fly" highlight show last night, we heard former Penguins defenseman Larry Murphy explaining the Penguins goaltending situation. He said Marc-Andre Fleury was "hot as a firecracker." We don't know why, but that made us laugh.

-If you want to order tickets to the Penguins games in Sweden next season, click here.

Atlantic Division

-An injury to Rangers forward Scott Gomez may open the door for Petr Prucha to return.

-Former Rangers forward Adam Graves says the NHL is like soccer now.

Southeast Division

-Panthers defenseman and former Penguin Noah Welch has recovered from a shoulder injury and is ready to play.

-Alexander Ovechkin is young and good.

-Thrashers forward Slava Kozlov says his team needs a franchise defenseman.

Northeast Division

-Andrei Kostitsyn scored two goals for the Canadiens in a 7-5 defeat of the Senators. The Habs clinched a playoff spot with the win.

-Bruins forward Marc Savard is dealing with a back injury.

-Sabres defenseman and Pittsburgh native Mike Weber is motivated by the death of a former teammate.

-Senators owner Eugene Melnyk appears to be in some hot water.

Central Division

-Red Wings forward Dan Cleary has recovered from a jaw injury.

-Blackhawks coach Denis Savard called out the Blues.

Northeast Division

-Jose Theodore made 23 saves for the Avalanche in a 2-0 shutout of the Flames.

-Andrew Cogliano scored two goals and helped the Oilers claim a 5-3 win against the Wild.

-Wild forward Mark Parrish isn't playing much these days.

Pacific Division

-Coyotes forward and former Penguins prospect Daniel Carcillo is 41 minutes away from setting a new franchise record for penalty minutes in a season for Phoenix.

-We're way late with this, but former NHL goaltender Sean Bruke joined the Coyotes as director of prospect development.

Adams Division

-Someone may have found a curved hockey stick that was used to play hockey back in the 1600s. Chris Chelios was wondering where that thing was.

(Kudos to Illegal Curve for finding the article.)

-Patrick Roy's son apologized for his role in a brawl during a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game Saturday. He could face a suspension for his actions.



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