islanderspens4

Tracking the Playoffs: Islanders vs. Penguins Game 4

"Goaltending Gongshow" would be an appropriate headline for what went down at the Nassau Coliseum last night as the Islanders were able to tie the series. The goaltending on both sides has been bad, but last night's game may have been the ultimate display of goaltending ineptitude where Evgeni Nabokov was bad and Marc-Andre Fleury was ten times worse. The "quality start" metric is what is usually used to measure goaltender performance where all a goalie has to do is post a .912 save percentage in a game to give his team a chance to win. Neither goalie was able to do this last night with Nabokov allowing four goals on 31 shots and Fleury letting in an astounding six goals on 24 shots. "Shot quality" is always the common argument against this stat but anyone who watched the game last night shouldn't even bring this up because three of the goals Fleury let in were disgusting and he had to face only 11 Islander scoring chances as a whole.

The team in front of Fleury actually looked slightly better than they did in the last two games as they were able to limit the Islanders scoring chances and control the better part of this game. That would have been good enough for a win, but all stats kind of go out the window when 25% of the shots you give up end up in the back of your net. Three of the goals Fleury let in weren't even registered as scoring chances (Strait, Okposo & the second Streit goal), so that alone should tell you what the main problem was for the Penguins. 

Fortunately for the Penguins, this is only a tied series and they are starting to look better than they did in the last two games, albeit that isn't saying much. They also have another goaltender who they can turn to in Tomas Vokoun and it wouldn't shock me if we see him in net on Thursday. Pittsburgh is at the point where they need to start the goalie who gives them the best chance to win and I'm not sure if that goalie is Fleury right now. I can't help but feel that the only reason he wasn't pulled from last night's game is because Nabokov was almost just as bad and kept the Penguins in the game.

New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Period Total EV PP 5v3 SH 3v5 EN
1 5 4 3 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 4 7 3 5 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1
3 5 5 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 14 17 11 14 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1

The Pens were better last night and did a better job defensively of limiting how much offense the Islanders could create at even strength. The Isles still had more zone time and the better of the territorial play, but that doesn't always result in chances. Some of it was the Islanders own doing since they kept trying to make passing plays in the slot, an area that Pittsburgh covered well, only for them to be broken up. They would have been much better off just getting it on net and banging away at rebounds because lord knows they were there and Fleury was very suspectable in goal. It's also worth noting that while the Penguins were better, they didn't exactly dominate this game despite keeping the Islanders even strength attack in check. They weren't creating much offense themselves and could only seem to generate chances on the rush after mistakes by the Islanders defense. Their forecheck and territorial play, as a whole, has been very weak. Although, there aren't many teams who can win when their goalie lets in 25% of the shots he faces.


Islanders Individual Scoring Chances

# Player EV PP SH
2 Mark Streit 18:41 3 2 4:15 2 0 0:00 0 0
3 Travis Hamonic 22:39 5 7 2:33 2 0 3:30 0 2
7 Matt Carkner 7:21 1 3 0:00 0 0 0:29 0 0
10 Keith Aucoin 8:38 1 5 0:09 0 0 0:00 0 0
11 Lubomir Visnovsky 19:38 5 6 3:30 1 0 0:30 0 0
12 Josh Bailey 14:13 7 4 2:35 1 0 0:56 0 0
13 Colin McDonald 10:18 2 4 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
17 Matt Martin 11:14 0 3 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
20 Evgeni Nabokov  49:29 11 14 6:31 3 0 4:00 0 2
21 Kyle Okposo 17:59 4 5 2:46 1 0 3:08 0 2
24 Brad Boyes 13:08 5 3 3:56 2 0 0:00 0 0
26 Matt Moulson 13:04 1 4 3:45 2 0 0:00 0 0
37 Brian Strait 20:02 6 8 0:00 0 0 1:31 0 0
40 Michael Grabner  10:46 2 3 0:00 0 0 0:23 0 0
41 David Ullstrom 5:15 1 2 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
47 Andrew MacDonald 10:52 2 2 2:44 1 0 2:00 0 2
51 Frans Nielsen 14:34 3 4 2:29 1 0 3:04 0 2
53 Casey Cizikas 11:31 2 2 0:00 0 0 0:29 0 0
91 John Tavares 15:32 5 3 3:53 2 0 0:00 0 0

Best EV Forward: Josh Bailey +3

Worst EV Forward: Keith Aucoin -4

Best EV Defenseman: Mark Streit +1

Worst EV Defensemen: Travis Hamonic & Matt Carkner -2

The Islanders second line finally reached a bump in the road, as they ended up getting outchanced for the first time all series and Nielsen had a pretty bad gaffe on Malkin's goal. Fortunately, the Islanders first line did enough to carry their offense through this game by generating two goals and winning the scoring chance battle whenever they were on the ice. Tavares had a nice goal in the third period to give the Islanders the lead but let's not overwork Brad Boyes forcing a turnover by Evgeni Malkin to set up the entire sequence. This line had kind of a rough outing in Game three but they rebounded well last night. Casey Cizikas also had a good game in limited ice-time and I've been very impressed with what he has done this series.

The Islanders defense took a huge blow last night by losing Andrew MacDonald sometime in the second period and you can see here that Hamonic struggled without him. They also barely used Matt Carkner so Jack Capuano essentially had to roll four defensemen for the entire third period. The result? Hamonic and Brian Strait getting lit up defensively at even strength. Even if MacDonald is healthy, I think it would serve the Islanders well to put Thomas Hickey back in the lineup over Carkner. I understand the value of "team toughness" but that doesn't matter as much when you are getting crushed defensively even while not playing a lot of minutes.

Penguins Individual Scoring Chances

# Player EV PP SH
2 Matt Niskanen 18:45 9 5 0:19 0 0 0:08 0 0
3 Douglas Murray  14:06 6 3 0:00 0 0 1:59 0 1
4 Mark Eaton 9:15 2 2 0:00 0 0 1:13 0 1
7 Paul Martin 19:02 4 5 3:19 2 0 3:53 0 1
9 Pascal Dupuis 13:08 3 2 0:00 0 0 3:46 0 2
10 Brenden Morrow 15:40 4 3 0:19 0 0 0:00 0 0
12 Jarome Iginla 15:51 7 4 2:41 2 0 0:00 0 0
14 Chris KUnitz 13:57 3 2 2:40 1 0 0:08 0 0
15 Tanner Glass 4:18 0 0 0:00 0 0 1:08 0 0
16 Brandon Sutter 12:51 2 1 0:00 0 0 1:35 0 0
18 James Neal 14:43 6 3 1:36 1 0 0:00 0 0
24 Matt Cooke 11:28 4 2 0:00 0 0 1:22 0 1
27 Craig Adams 4:15 0 4 0:00 0 0 4:21 0 2
29 Marc-Andre Fleury  48:39 14 11 4:00 2 0 6:31 0 3
36 Jussi Jokinen 6:58 3 1 0:19 0 0 0:12 0 0
44 Brooks Orpik 15:51 1 5 0:00 0 0 2:53 0 2
58 Kris Letang 21:40 6 3 1:41 0 0 2:56 0 1
71 Evgeni Malkin 17:24 6 5 3:41 2 0 0:00 0 0
87 Sidney Crosby 17:03 4 5 3:25 2 0 0:30 0 1

Best EV Forwards: James Neal & Jarome Iginla +3

Worst EV Forward: Craig Adams -4

Best EV Defenseman: Matt Niskanen +4

Worst EV Defenseman: Brooks Oprik -4

Pittsburgh's second line has really missed James Neal as they turned in a strong offensive performance after his return and it's a good thing they showed up because Crosby's line struggled to do a lot at even strength. This is something that doesn't happen very often. Evgeni Malkin is taking a lot of heat for that turnover which led to Tavares' goal, but he had a solid game outside of that and was responsible for a good chunk of Pittsburgh's offense. Matt Cooke & Brendn Morrow also made some decent contributions at even strength and Jussi Jokinen also played well on the fourth line.

The fact that Jokinen is centering the fourth line is confusing to me. Obviously he isn't going to center the top two lines with Crosby & Malkin occupying those spots, but it's not like Jokinen can't play wing. Sticking him with grinders like Adams & Glass just seems to mitigate how effective he can be, which is silly because he has thrived when playing with better linemates in Pittsburgh. Using him on the fourth line just seems like a waste.

Brooks Orpik's return to the lineup wasn't a night to remember. He was crushed at even strength and arguably the worst player Pittsburgh iced that night. Fleury's apologists are usually quick to blame the defense for his struggles and they would be right in the case of Orpik last night since he spent most of the game trapped in his own zone. The only good news for Pittsburgh is that he spent most of his minutes against Nielsen's line instead of Tavares', so the damage wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five

The Islanders have been the better team this series and it's odd because Jack Capuano's matchpus have been interesting to say the least. If you take a look at the shift chart from this game, you'll see the one of the key matchups for him was getting Nielsen out against Crosby. That's a reasonable matchup, for sure but this and the head-to-head chart shows him sending out players like Keith Aucoin, Matt Martin and Colin McDonald out against Malkin's line. Ntohing good is going to come from sending out grinders against a dangerous line like that and these players ended up taking a beating when being forced into this matchup. I'm interested to see what changes when they play on the road again.

Outside of these moments, Capuano seemed to alternate Tavares & Nielsen against Crosby & Malkin's line respectively. You can see here that Nielsen had much more success against Crosby than Malkin while Tavares' won the battle against everyone in the Penguins top-six. It's also notable how much the loss of Andrew MacDonald hurts the Islanders as he was doing a great job of containing the Penguins first line.

Period Team Time Player NYI PIT Strength
1 NYI 17:12 Moulson 91 24 26 3 47 20 9 24 3 44 29   5v4
1 NYI 16:50 Okposo 12 51 21 2 11 20 87 27 4 7 29   5v4
1 NYI 12:59 Aucoin 10 13 41 7 37 20 71 27 24 7 44 29 5v5
1 NYI 10:58 MacDonald 12 51 21 3 47 20 16 27 7 44 58 29 5v5
1 PIT 8:00 Dupuis 12 91 24 3 7 20 87 9 14 2 3 29 5v5
1 NYI 7:48 Bailey 12 91 24 11 37 20 87 9 14 2 3 29 5v5
1 PIT 5:10 Neal – GOAL 12 91 24 3 47 20 71 12 18 2 7 29 5v5
1 PIT 1:26 Morrow 51 21 26 11 37 20 10 24 36 4 58 29 5v5
1 PIT 0:44 Iginla 51 21 26 11 37 20 71 12 24 7 58 29 5v5
2 PIT 16:02 Kunitz 51 21 3 47 20   71 87 12 14 7 29 4v5
2 PIT 15:01 Neal 51 21 3 47 20   71 87 12 18 7 29 5v5
2 NYI 13:32 Tavares – GOAL 91 24 26 2 3 20 27 9 44 58 29   5v4
2 PIT 12:43 Malkin – GOAL 51 21 26 3 37 20 71 12 18 2 3 29 5v5
2 NYI 9:20 Okposo 12 51 21 3 47 20 87 9 14 4 7 29 5v5
2 PIT 8:57 Sutter – GOAL 12 91 24 2 7 20 16 10 24 44 58 29 5v5
2 PIT 7:58 Jokinen 10 13 40 3 47 20 12 18 36 2 3 29 5v5
2 PIT 6:54 Malkin 53 40 17 3 47 20 71 87 9 14 2 3 EN
2 PIT 4:52 Niskanen 10 12 21 3 37 20 87 10 36 2 7 29 5v5
2 NYI 3:22 Tavares 12 91 24 3 37 20 87 27 10 2 3 29 5v5
2 NYI 3:02 Bailey 12 91 24 3 37 20 87 27 10 2 3 29 5v5
2 PIT 2:16 Iginla 10 17 41 7 11 20 71 12 18 7 58 29 5v5
3 PIT 19:29 Dupuis – GOAL 51 21 26 2 3 20 87 9 14 4 58 29 5v5
3 PIT 18:24 Malkin 10 13 40 11 37 20 71 12 18 2 3 29 5v5
3 PIT 18:23 Iginla 10 13 40 11 37 20 71 12 18 2 3 29 5v5
3 NYI 12:41 Moulson 51 21 26 11 37 20 71 12 18 4 44 29 5v5
3 PIT 11:02 Dupuis 53 17 41 3 37 20 87 9 14 2 3 29 5v5
3 NYI 9:51 Tavares 12 19 24 2 11 20 71 12 18 7 44 29 5v5
3 NYI 9:49 Tavares 12 19 24 2 11 20 71 12 18 7 44 29 5v5
3 PIT 9:11 Morrow 53 13 17 11 37 20 16 10 24 2 58 29 5v5
3 NYI 5:06 Grabner 53 21 40 2 3 20 10 24 36 2 58 29 5v5
3 NYI 1:16 Cizikas – GOAL 53 13 40 11 37 20 71 87 12 2 58 29 5v5

 

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