PITTSBURGH – The Islanders have long struggled for consistency on their power play.
It can still improve in this first-round series against the Penguins with Game 2 on Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena. But the man advantage got off to a very rocky start in Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win in Game 1.
The Islanders’ lone chance was a four-minute power play that yielded just two shots after Jeff Carter high-sticked Brock Nelson at 12:25 of the second period. The Islanders were trailing 2-1.
But the Islanders spent much of the double minor either chasing the puck back into their own zone, failing to get through the neutral zone or not setting up a shot in the offensive zone.
"We didn’t execute," coach Barry Trotz said on Monday as the team conducted a very limited, optional practice at the arena. "I thought we got spread out a little bit. Our releases and our exits weren’t clean and, therefore, they were able to get sticks and get into those battles and break up plays and break up your next pass. They were able to anticipate that, jump us, and we didn’t move it quick enough.
"It’s all about executing very quickly against their pressure. Our entries, our retrievals and moving it to our options, we didn’t do it quick enough and with the execution that we needed and, therefore, we didn’t get anything done."
Still, it’s an area the Islanders can exploit if their execution improves. The Penguins’ penalty kill ranked 27th in the NHL during the regular season at 77.4%. Of course, the Islanders’ power play ranked 21st at 18.8%.
Notes & quotes
Goalie Casey DeSmith and defenseman Brian Dumoulin did not participate in the Penguins’ practice…Dime Community Bank reached a partnership deal with the Islanders and UBS Arena at Belmont Park.