-- First, on Evgeni Nabokov and him coming out of the game after overtime ended -- and after he stopped 30 shots and played another strong game.
Jack Capuano said Nabokov was "fatigued." Nabokov used that word too, although he said the fatigue came from a lower-body injury in the first period that was causing him to lose energy as the game wore on. "Sometimes you have to be smart," he said. "You have to think about the long term instead of the short run."
So Capuano called on Rick DiPietro for the shootout. DiPietro stopped Kris Letang on the first attempt but Evgeni Malkin got DiPietro prone after a missed poke-check and slid the puck under the toe of DiPietro's pad.
DiPietro stopped James Neal's wrist shot, but none of the Isles scored, so the winless streak is now four (0-3-1).
DiPietro said Capuano just told him to go in the net. "It's fun," he said. "Stinks we lost though."
I'd venture a guess that DiPietro will get the start on Saturday against the Sharks at the Coliseum. No word on what Nabokov's status will be in the coming days.
-- It was another good night for the fourth line, and this time they got rewarded for their efforts. Marty Reasoner and Jay Pandolfo are not goal-scorers, and Reasoner missed a golden chance in the second, coming down the slot nearly untouched on a three on two. But Matt Martin parked himself in front of Marc-Andre Fleury a few times and slammed in a feed from Steve Staios just 45 seconds into the third for a 2-0 Isles lead.
They didn't hold that lead, of course -- and Reasoner and Pandolfo were on for the Pens' tying goal on the PP -- but it was hard to blame that line. As Capuano said: "They play the right way. They play in the offensive zone the way we want to play, I'm real happy with those guys."
So happy, in fact, that Capuano had that line on in the final minute to preserve the tie, rather than go with a more talented trio to try and grab the win.
-- John Tavares' line generated some chances as usual, but Capuano singled them out for a lousy defensive shift after Martin's goal. PA Parenteau failed on a clearing attempt and Letang had lots of room to start the play that Chris Kunitz finished.
"Our D-zone coverage got dismantled," Capuano said.
-- Frans Nielsen had a strong game at even strength and on the PK, where he was busy -- the Isles were shorthanded six times, a couple of them questionable calls, including the goaltender interference call on Kyle Okposo in the third that led to the tying goal. Okposo was clearly forced into Marc-Andre Fleury, yet the call was made.
Nielsen had his second goal of the year and his line had a decent night, given the lopsided second period.
-- About those second periods... That's now three straight road games (out of three overall) in which the Isles have been outshot and outchanced by a wide margin in the second. They needed 12:42 in Tampa to get a shot in the second, and nearly nine minutes in Sunrise against the Panthers; tonight they had two shots in the middle 20 minutes.
"I think it's more of a mental thing more than anything," Martin said. "You see how we come out at home, we can pour it on. It's not happening on the road and I don't know if there's a good answer for it."
-- A solid night for the defense, including Milan Jurcina, who was physical and steady in his own end. It's a huge change for the Isles to have healthy, NHL-ready defensemen available, and Jurcina's play tonight means Capuano may have to sit Mike Mottau again on Saturday, even though Mottau wasn't bad in his first seven games.