New York Islanders 3-4 Pittsburgh Penguins: Game Two Ratings
The Nassau Coliseum was full of emotion before the game, as the crowd was buzzing in anticipation for the debut of first overall pick John Tavares. But the Penguins planned on spoiling his first NHL game.
However, the Penguins came out flat in the first period. Despite Sidney Crosby scoring his second goal on a breakaway, the Mighty 'Guins gave up a five-on-three after Brendan Witt destroyed Ruslan Fedotenko.
The Penguins also allowed another powerplay goal in the second period, this time to Tavares. Assistant coach Mike Yeo was upset at the offensive performance, to say the absolute least. So, the Penguins came out flying in the third period, outshooting the Islanders 18-5. But Islanders netminder Dwayne Roloson stood tall, and the game went to overtime.
The two teams needed a shootout, but Crosby and Kris Letang made quick work of the Islanders and the Penguins walked away with two more points. So let's check the ratings.
Fleury: 7. The Flower allowed three goals, but none of them were exactly his fault. Two came on the powerplay, one with a two-man advantage, and the other while screened. Made a tremendous save on a breakaway from Tavares, a save that prevented the Islanders from going ahead by two.
Eaton: 8.5. An absolutely wonderful performance. Showed that he still has the playoff scoring touch and blocked seven shots. Also contributed four minutes on the penalty kill and helped keep the Islanders powerplay off the board in the final minutes.
Goligoski: 6. Played a considerable amount of powerplay and penalty killing time, but had numerous tense moments while taking the puck.
Gonchar: 7. Received a game-high 28 minutes of ice time and used it to deliver a handful of big hits. While not known for his hitting presence, he provided a physical edge. Also assisted on Fedotenko's late tying goal.
Letang: 7. Another solid game. Is improving defensively. Scored the opening goal in the shootout.
McKee: 2. Played two minutes before receiving a 10-minute game misconduct. After Brendan Witt went headhunting and hit Fedotenko, he jumped in to take matters into his own hands. His instigator gave the Islanders a five-on-three, which they scored.
Orpik: 6.5. Decent defensively. Should have scored.
Adams: 6. Nothing bad, nothing good. Just did his job as a fourth line player. Saw some time against the Islanders top lines.
Cooke: 6.5. Led the team in shots and shots attempted. May have scored against a goaltender who wasn't as dialed in. Showed flashes of brilliance on the forecheck alongside Jordan Staal.
Crosby: 9. Couldn't have done much else right. Constantly put the Penguins in position by winning 17 faceoffs. Opened the scoring on a breakaway and ended the game in the shootout. The new stick has added a new dimension to his shot, and it has shown in the first two games.
Dupuis: 6.5. A somewhat productive game. Made a couple nifty plays on the penalty kill to keep the Islanders out of the zone and away from Fleury.
Fedotenko: 8. Made possibly the two most important plays of the game. First, he banked a pass from the defensive zone off the boards to hit Crosby in stride on a breakaway. Then he took a slapshot from Gonchar and deposited the garbage goal to tie the game late.
Godard: 4. Did next to nothing in terms of productive ice time, except for getting in the faces of a few Islanders. Had a few moments where it looked like he might drop the gloves, but it never happened.
Guerin: 6. Not a tremendously effective return to Long Island and took a questionable penalty with under three minutes to play in the third period that gave the Islanders a chance to win it in regulation.
Kennedy: 6.5. Was close to invisible in the first two periods, but became more effective with his speed when the Islanders began to wear down after defending so much. Saw extra time late with the Malkin line.
Kunitz: 6.5. Delivered the hit of the evening when he blasted Radek Martinek behind the net, a la Colby Armstrong.
Malkin: 7. Came on late when he made an incredible heads-up play in the corner to find Gonchar wide open. Sarge then delivered an unobstructed shot on net that Fedotenko buried.
Rupp: 5. Got into his first fight as a Penguin and that's about it.
Staal: 6.5. Was at his best on the penalty kill, but more importantly, started to see time on the first powerplay unit with Malkin and Crosby.
The Penguins will now have a four-day layoff before they face the Phoenix Coyotes at Mellon Arena on Wednesday. Dan Bylsma and the 'Guins will look to have a maximum six points when they head to Philadelphia on Thursday.
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