Pens' penalty sets early tone for Isles
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Islanders were unhappy with some of the calls in the first three games of their Stanley Cup playoff series against the Penguins.
They particularly were upset about a holding penalty drawn by Penguins star Sidney Crosby on Brian Strait in overtime of Game 3. Chris Kunitz netted the game-winner 33 seconds after that penalty.
“I don't normally comment on a call. I just hope they're consistent,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said after the game. “Mark Streit was called on one and at the other end of the ice, then on the same play, there was no call.”
Capuano's message seemed to be received by the officials, as the Islanders earned their first power play 1:26 into Game 4 on Tuesday night. In a reversal from Game 3, it was New York's star drawing a questionable penalty, as John Tavares sold a hooking call on Evgeni Malkin.
The Islanders didn't score, but the tone was set. New York got the first three power plays of the game.
The Islanders finally took advantage in the second period after Matt Cooke was called for goalie interference. Just 31 seconds later, Tavares tipped in a shot from the point by Streit to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead.
It was just the second goal on 15 power-play opportunities in the series for the Islanders. The Penguins' success on the penalty kill was a surprise, considering the unit ranked 25th in the league.
The Penguins stationed Brooks Orpik and Douglas Murray in front of the net primarily on penalty kills with the intention of cutting down on the Islanders' room to operate.
The officials drew the ire of the Nassau Coliseum crowd, which was incensed by an embellishment penalty on Colin McDonald early in the third period after he was held by Malkin. Instead of a man-advantage, the teams skated four-on-four for two minutes.
The Penguins stayed out of the penalty box for the rest of the game, but it didn't matter.
Dan Duggan is a freelance writer.