TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Islanders notebook: Rivalry with Penguins growing

Penguins/NHL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Denis Gorman
Sunday, May 5, 2013, 6:24 p.m.
 

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.”

Streak continues

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Penguins

  1. Sutter: Staal effect felt on 3rd line with Penguins
  2. Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
  3. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  4. Reliving the moment a decade ago that shifted the Penguins' history
  5. New Pens winger Fehr ready for defense-first role
  6. Penguins to appear on national TV 18 times in 2015-16
  7. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  8. Pens assistant GM Fitzgerald leaves for Devils
  9. Penguins co-owner Burkle stands to make big profit in selling team
  10. Russian winger Plotnikov could join Penguins in August
  11. Penguins’ Pouliot heard trade whispers, but now hopes to make noise