Isles even series, put pressure on Penguins
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Brooks Orpik thinks these Penguins are different.
“But I guess we'll find out if we are or not,” Orpik said after a 6-4 loss to the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum raised the ghosts of playoff failures' past.
The Penguins are even, 2-2, in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series. They are trying to avoid a fourth straight loss to a lower-seeded opponent in the playoffs.
Three consecutive goals by the Islanders in the third period Tuesday erased a Penguins lead in Game 4 and stole any momentum they had in a series that is starting to look strikingly similar to one that rattled the organization last spring.
The Penguins have allowed 14 goals in the past three games after a textbook defensive performance helped goalie Marc-Andre Fleury post a shutout in Game 1.
Coach Dan Bylsma did not commit to starting Fleury in Game 5 on Thursday at Consol Energy Center.
Orpik refused to commit to comparisons between this series and the one the Penguins lost to Philadelphia last postseason. The Penguins allowed 30 goals in six games to the Flyers.
They failed at managing the puck, defending the front of the crease, staying out of the penalty box and holding leads.
“It feels a lot like the crap that was going on last year,” Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “The games are out of our control, crazy bounces are happening, we're giving up goals.
“We've proven over the course of the season we can play better than that, but we've got to dig deep to find it.”
The Penguins twice erased Islanders' leads within a minute in Game 4, but they also twice blew one-goal leads.
They lost only once this season when leading in the third period, but captain Mark Streit and centers John Tavares and Casey Cizikas scored for the Islanders after right winger Pascal Dupuis' fourth playoff goal staked the Penguins to a 4-3 lead 41 seconds in.
The Penguins were charged with 12 giveaways, by 10 players.
“We're just turning pucks over,” Orpik said. “I turned it over on their game-winner, and 10 seconds later it's in the net.”
Tavares scored that goal near the midpoint of the third.
The Penguins have 33 giveaways in the series — only 20 fewer than against the Flyers last postseason. They have taken 23 penalties against the Islanders, compared to 42 against the Flyers.
Right winger James Neal sat at his stall wearing an expression of disbelief after Game 4. Center Evgeni Malkin was by then receiving treatment on a left shoulder that could require offseason surgery.
Several players screamed at members of the media who blocked the only exit into the hallway, where franchise icon and majority co-owner Mario Lemieux, with his wife Nathalie, were dour while leaning against a wall.
Jarome Iginla, a future Hall-of-Fame winger brought in before the trade deadline to score goals and provide leadership, according to general manager Ray Shero, tried to spin the Penguins' predicament. He said they wanted to reclaim home-ice advantage by winning one of two games at Nassau Coliseum, and he correctly noted the Penguins had won Game 3.
“We never thought this was going to be easy,” Iginla said.
Clearly, it won't be.
“Obviously we don't want to give up as many goals as we are,” Crosby said. “But we had our fair share of chances.”
Bylsma said the Penguins need not “be looking for more chances.”
“It's more about limiting their opportunities from the defensive side,” Bylsma said.
Just like against the Flyers, Niskanen said.
Still, Orpik, after his first game of the series, said the past will have no bearing on how this situation will play out.
“It's a different group of guys, a different series,” Orpik said. “I don't let that stuff hang over my head. You learn from it, you move in, but I don't think you go back to it.”
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.
- Pitt trying to make bid for NCAA women’s field
- Miami’s 67-63 victory further damages Pitt’s NCAA Tourney hopes
- Penguins notebook: Crosby says he would play goal if needed
- Agent: Polamalu undecided whether to play in 2015
- Diabetes doesn’t slow down WPIAL wrestling duo headed for states
- Mt. Lebanon deer-culling corrals sprayed with urine, repellant
- Hempfield hockey team bolts to big lead, tops Thomas Jefferson, 7-4
- Crosby, Malkin chase scoring title amid defense-minded league
- Ice jam wipes out McKeesport’s marina
- 11 Ligonier Township residents rescued by boat from floodwaters
- Penn State Fayette tops Maine-Machias in USCAA Tournament