Islanders notebook: Rivalry with Penguins growing
In recent years, the rivalry between the New York Islanders and Penguins has been akin to a little brother demanding respect from an older, more accomplished sibling.
But that might be changing.
One of the subtexts of the Eastern Conference first-round series has been an increasing level of physical and verbal nastiness between the Atlantic Division rivals.
The teams have congregated after every whistle to exchange shoves and cross words to the enjoyment of Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic.
“I would be lying if I said it wasn't part of our game plan, what we want to do as a whole,” Hamonic said. “That's all part of playoff hockey. Hits are harder, the plays are more intense, everyone elevates their battle level.
“I know for myself, I like it.”
PK not OK
The numbers don't lie.
Through the first three games of the series, the Islanders have been unable to neutralize the Penguins' lethal power play. The Penguins are 6 for 13 on the power play. Sunday, the Islanders yielded three man-down goals on five power plays against, including Chris Kunitz's game-winner.
“Special teams (are) always a big factor in the outcome of your games,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “I thought (Sunday) that was the difference.”
Is the issue the Penguins' personnel or the Islanders' structure?
“It's a little bit of both,” Capuano said. “Your penalty kill obviously starts in goal and works its way out. We have a certain structure that we want to use.
“We took some wrong routes on our penalty kill. The entries for them were way too easy. They established zone time right away, and they were able to work the puck in the zone.
“When you allow that to happen, with the skill guys that they have, they're going to take advantage of it. To me, when I look at the penalty kill, it's the first eight seconds, it's the desperation. We won some key faceoffs tonight; we never cleared the puck 200 feet. That all comes back to haunt you, and that's what happened. Execution on the PK, from a details standpoint, has to be better.”
The Islanders have lost seven straight playoff games at Nassau Coliseum. The last time the Islanders won a playoff game at home was April 28, 2002, when they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-3, in Game 6 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. Toronto won that series in seven games.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Under Rutherford, it’s been a sizeable shakeup for Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Shootouts becoming a concern
- Trade for Winnik gives Penguins competition among bottom six
- Finding perfect pairing for Ehrhoff key for Penguins
- Penguins’ Kunitz makes a dream come true
- Baby Penguins notebook: Goalie Murray on historic run of success