The Pens took a 2-0 lead on a power play goal by Zbynek Michalek, and most Pens' fans were sitting back and thinking "this one could be a blowout". Give the Islanders some credit - they kept battling, taking advantage of a few key chances. The Pens, for their part, also kept chugging, despite taking three minor penalties in the third period (that can't happen after tonight).
Certainly not the best defensive effort for the Pens, who allowed 38 shots on net and had several gaffes that fortunately didn't cost them.
The bottom line is the Pens are the better team right now, and they wanted it more. They were able to stem the tide and find a way to leave Long Island with two points. That locks up home ice for the first round of the playoffs, which is HUGE.
The Flyers lost in OT, so the Pens are even with the Flyers heading into the final game for each team.
Rupp (8), Michalek (5), Letestu (13)
- Michalek has a cannon from the blue line. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do next year when he doesn't have a system to learn.
- Big time, clutch goal from Letestu. He had to elevate a cross-crease pass over the pad of Montoya (who played pretty well).
- There really was no nonsense from either team. The refs showed in the first period that they'd throw the book at anyone that blinked the wrong way (Konopka and Orpik were both victims) and suddenly everyone behaved themselves. It's like magic, what happens when you have a tightly called game!
- The power play came through with a big goal from Michalek. That's two games in a row - hope this leads to bigger and better things...
- James Neal appeared to hurt his left hand while finishing a check. He left during the first period and didn't return.
- Too many minor penalties, especially in the third period with the game hanging in the balance.
- Michael Haley's low bridge hit on Engelland - it was cheap and dirty. Kinda like a defender going low in basketball when you're going in for a layup - very dangerous.
- The Zebras found their whistles in the first period and used them to make their point. No more dumb stuff. I'm surprised by the intelligence of the zebras!
What's their record now? Any important move in the standings?
The Pens are now 48-25-8. They have clinched at least the fourth spot in the East and could have the chance to finish second or third, depending on the outcome of the Flyers game tomorrow (and the Bruins, for that matter).
Final game of the year, which may or may not be meaningless, is on Sunday in Atlanta.