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Islanders notebook: Solving Penguins no easy feat

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By Denis Gorman

Published: Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 5:45 p.m.

Solving Pens is no easy feat

There has been one question asked in NHL circles since the trade deadline: How, exactly, can a team slow the Penguins?

Islanders defenseman Matt Carkner was the latest to try his hand and answer the question.

“You have to play them hard, play them aggressively,” Carkner said Tuesday before Game 4. “If you give them too much time and too much space, they're going to make those plays.

“(They have) really skilled players with great vision. If you give them a little space, they're going to make a nice play and it's going to end up hurting you. So you obviously (want to have) good angles, and respect their ability to spin off you and try not to get beat back to the net.”

Of the 13 goals the Penguins scored in the first three games of the series, 11 have been scored by Pascal Dupuis (three), Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby (two each), and Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, Kris Letang and Beau Bennett (one apiece).

“The biggest thing is to play them straight up, play them tough, take their time and space away,” Carkner said.

Strait not to blame

The Islanders spent the past two days having to “clean up some things,” according to Matt Moulson.

He said they felt they had to play “like we did most of the game last game. Stay disciplined, ready to go. I think we did a lot of things well. We played our hockey most of the game last game.”

The one person they absolved for the loss was defenseman Brian Strait. It was Strait who pulled down Crosby 8:11 into overtime to create the game-deciding power play.

“It's a tough play,” Carkner said. “It's Crosby. He's a skilled player, and he has a good ability to escape from a defensive position to an offensive position. He got a little step on Brian, but it's a tough play there. Crosby really has a good base, so to push him over, it's tough. He kind of lost his balance and fell down, and they ended up scoring on the power play.

“Those are the things we were talking about. We have to be physical on them but just be aware of his ability. It's a tough play against a great player.”



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