One Point Lost For Isles
Penguins 3, Islanders 2 (OT)
By Kerry Gwydir
(Feb. 29) Ryan Malone's goal with 2:15 to go in overtime was the game-
winner on Sunday in a 3-2 Pittsburgh win. The 30th ranked penalty
killing unit of the Pens proved to be the difference in extinguishing
five Islander powerplays, including four in the opener. Former Isles'
draft pick Andy Chiodo got the win for the Penguins in goal, stopping
The Islanders again were without the services of captain Michael
Peca, who was scratched because of the leg laceration he received on
Thursday vs. the Rangers. In terms of the other scratches, Justin
Papineau replaced Eric Godard in the lineup on Sunday.
Garth Snow received the nod between the pipes against his former
team, facing Chiodo â¢ who made his NHL debut two weeks ago at the
Coliseum in an Islander victory. The 20-year old was steady in net,
making several stops at key times to keep the Islanders off the
Steve Stirling's team received a quartet of powerplays in the final
seven minutes of the opener, which turned out to be the story of this
contest. They failed to convert on the first after Josef Melichar
took out Cliff Ronning. Then Dick Tarnstrom tripped up Mattias
Weinhandl and then Brooks Orpik hacked Trent Hunter, setting up a 5-
on-3 for 1:29. The best chance came during the two-man scenario when
Adrian Aucoin uncorked a howitzer that appeared on its way past
Chiodo. But the puck, instead, hit Hunter in the shin pad as he was
battling in front.
When the Isles didn't convert on that opportunity, Weinhandl drew
another penalty. This time, it was Long Islander Rob Scuderi being
penalized with 2:24 to go. Weinhandl nearly set up the game's first
goal in the first 15 seconds of this powerplay, but an aggressive
stick-check by the Penguins' netminder thwarted an unchecked chance
on the doorstep by Mariusz Czerkawski.
After not converting with the man-advantage, Janne Niinimaa blasted a
right point shot behind Chiodo with just 5.2 left in the first. A key
offensive zone faceoff win by Shawn Bates put the goal sequence in
It took the Penguins just 1:08 into the second to record the
equalizer. Tomas Surovy ripped a blast off a faceoff win by Milan
Kraft over Snow's blocker. Surovy, positioned on the right hashmarks
on the left faceoff circle, unleashed a one-timer into the top corner
of the net.
With 18 seconds left in a Sven Butenschon penalty, Oleg Kvasha
exploited a porous Pittsburgh defense by banging home a shorthanded
tally with 7:46 left in the second. Jason Blake earned the primary
helper when he pulled up at the Pittsburgh blueline and found the
Islander forward crashing the net with Ric Jackman and Tarnstrom
converging. Chiodo made the initial stop off a forehand try through
Tarnstrom's legs, and then whacked home the rebound as the former
Islander defenseman failed to clear the puck.
Pittsburgh tallied a late goal of their own, scripted much like the
Surovy tally earlier in the period. A blast from Jackman beat Snow's
over his catch glove with 34.9 seconds left as Bates was in the
penalty box. Kraft again posted a key offensive zone faceoff win,
which started the sequence.
Jackman played a huge part in setting up the game-winner by Malone
after neither team scored in the third period. The blueliner walked
around Kvasha and threw the puck on net, where Alexei Morozov's chip
was originally stopped by Snow. Yet, the Isles were out-manned in
front with Kenny Jonsson being the lone defender and Malone unchecked
to bang the loose puck behind Snow.
Many missed opportunities
Isles pick up only one point, squander numerous chances on power play in OT loss to lowly Penguins
BY ALAN HAHN
March 1, 2004
Garth Snow led a quick exit off the Nassau Coliseum ice yesterday, moments after Ryan Malone chipped home a goal in overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 victory. The Islanders couldn't get away from this game fast enough and no one wanted to hang around to savor the point gained in spite of the frustrating defeat.
"It's the least we could say, we got the point," said Janne Niinimaa, who scored a goal. "Every game we have to come out with points. It's crucial."
The Islanders (72 points) hold a nine-point lead over the ninth-place Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I consider it a very lucky point," coach Steve Stirling said. "But we'll take it and we'll move on."
They'll move on to Pittsburgh to complete this home-and-home series tomorrow. It will be a chance to redeem themselves after a flat outing before a crowd of 15,218.
The desolate Penguins, who recently ended an 18-game winless streak, mobbed Malone as they celebrated their second overtime win in their past three games. Rookie goalie Andy Chiodo, a former Islanders draft choice who never was signed by the team, pumped his fists as he raced down the ice. The Penguins showed little fatigue from Saturday's cross-country flight from San Francisco to New York, which was part of a quirky road trip.
"There are no excuses," said Chiodo, 20, a junior hockey standout last season who was drafted by the Penguins in June. "Last year I was making 12-hour bus rides across Ontario. This was just a plane ride first-class."
The Islanders offered no excuses, even though the Penguins practically handed them the game in the first period.
Four consecutive penalties set up one power play after another, including a five-on-three that lasted 1:29. The Islanders registered one shot over the span of power plays, with several shots blocked, tipped or just plain missed.
"The power play failed us, big time," Stirling said. "First period, game should have been over."
They managed to get out of the period with a 1-0 lead, when Niinimaa sent a point shot from the right that beat Chiodo with 5.2 seconds left. "That should have been a wake-up call for us," Niinimaa said.
The Penguins tied it at 1 early in the second when Tomas Surovy one-timed a shot at 1:08. Oleg Kvasha put the Islanders back ahead 2-1, when he poked his own rebound between Chiodo's pads for a shorthanded goal at 12:14.
But Shawn Bates took an unnecessary holding penalty at 19:21 of the period to put the Penguins back on the power play. Ric Jackman converted, his shot appearing to be deflected through a screen and tucking inside the far corner with 34.9 seconds left in the second.
The third period provided one power play for the Islanders, who again failed to set up a quality chance. During a television timeout midway through the period, Stirling's face turned red as he loudly implored his team to get it going. But there was little going for the Islanders on this day.
"There wasn't anyone," Stirling said, "that I could say, 'I think he's got it tonight.' "
Notes & quotes: Rick DiPietro was supposed start but felt soreness during the warmup and Stirling opted to sit him. "I didn't want to take a chance," Stirling said . . . Alexei Yashin, who has practiced but still is recovering from a lacerated wrist, said he is not going to join the team for the two-game road trip this week .
Radio: ESPN (1050)
PENGUINS 3, ISLANDERS 2
PENGUINS 3, ISLANDERS 2, OVERTIME
Islanders Play Down to Penguins' Level
By RON DICKER
Published: March 1, 2004
UNIONDALE, N.Y., Feb. 29 â Devastating? Hardly. Annoying? You bet.
There was no consensus among the Islanders whether they took the Pittsburgh Penguins lightly in the Penguins' 3-2 overtime victory Sunday at Nassau Coliseum. But to a man, the Islanders agreed that they had a few problem areas to work on before their next game, against the Penguins on Tuesday.
The Islanders' power play imploded against the N.H.L's worst team, especially in an eight-minute sequence during the first period. The Islanders took three shots, and that span included 1 minute 27 seconds of five on three.
Face-offs also bedeviled the Islanders. They surrendered two goals, to Tomas Surovy and Ric Jackman, right after face-offs.
And there was just plain bad timing. All game, the Islanders appeared a split-second too late, whether it was for a stray puck, a convenient rebound or a Penguins turnover.
"We were lucky to get a point," Islanders Coach Steve Stirling said.
Ryan Malone flicked in a rebound off Islanders goaltender Garth Snow for the winner with 2:15 left in overtime.
Janne Niinimaa and Oleg Kvasha scored the goals for the Islanders (30-23-9-3). The Islanders, in the eighth and last playoff position in the Eastern Conference, are 9 points ahead of Buffalo and Florida and 2 behind seventh-place Montreal.
The Islanders have emphasized not becoming complacent as they chase a third consecutive playoff berth. Last year at this time, the team held a 6-point lead over its closest pursuer and gasped through a 5-10-3 final stretch to barely qualify.
The loss to Pittsburgh, just the Islanders' fifth in their past 18 games, did not set off alarms. But 9 of their 15 games in March are on the road, where the Islanders strain to be mediocre.
Stirling said his team was as ready as it needed to be against Pittsburgh, but nothing clicked.
"There wasn't anyone I could say, `He's got it today,' so you saw a potpourri of players," he said.
The Penguins (13-43-5-4) have won two of their last three games after going 18 games without a victory.
"You keep them close in the game, they believe in themselves," Niinimaa said. "Then it's a dogfight."
Despite the midice traffic jam the Penguins created, the Islanders managed 40 shots. Their one scintillating moment came short-handed with 7:46 left in the second period. Kvasha sped to a pass from Jason Blake and wrapped the puck between the legs of defenseman Dick Tarnstrom.
The puck bounced off goalie Andy Chiodo, and Kvasha tapped it in for his career-high 14th goal and a 2-1 Islanders lead.
But the Penguins tied the score 7:11 later on Jackman's hard shot after a face-off and a setup tap from Tarnstrom.
ISLES TAKE A DAY OFF AND IT PROVES COSTLY
By EVAN GROSSMAN
March 1, 2004 -- It was apparent that the Islanders took the Penguins lightly yesterday. Either that, or there was a whiskey buffet in the Isles' locker room before they were handed a 3-2 overtime defeat by the worst team in the NHL.
There was only shame and disgrace for the Islanders, who allowed the Pens to tie the game in the final minute of the second period and left the front door open for the winner off Ryan Malone's stick 2:45 into overtime for what led to far and away their most stinging loss to a team not named the Rangers.
Close to six full minutes of power-play time against the 30th ranked penalty kill in the league yielded only one shot on goal for the Islanders in the first period. Janne Niinimaa and Oleg Kvasha (short-handed) scored the Islander goals on a day Steve Stirling had absolutely none of his players hot, skating or working remotely hard enough to take two points from a virtually minor-league roster.
"The power play failed us, big time," Stirling said. "The game should have been over."
Kvasha may have scored the Isles' eighth shorthanded goal of the year and raised his post-Alexei Yashin injury numbers to 25 points (8-17-25) in 32 games, but he was just one of many players in blue and orange who pulled the chute when pursuing pucks or skating through the neutral zone. There was no follow-through, grind or second effort anywhere near an Islander player all day.
"There wasn't anyone that I could say, 'He's got it tonight,' " Stirling said.
Pittsburgh scored its first two goals off face-offs, both won by Milan Kraft over Eric Manlow. Tomas Surovy beat Garth Snow over the glove 1:08 into the second period on the first and Ric Jackman got the second on a wicked slap from the left point in the final minute of the period.
"The effort wasn't there," Niinimaa said. "I don't know why."
And for their regrettable lack of trying, the Islanders got just one point to go nine ahead of Buffalo and Florida, the teams immediately behind them in the standings. They are two points behind No. 7 Montreal in the Eastern playoff race.
"We spent two days talking about it, that we can't take them lightly," Niinimaa said.
And that is exactly what the Islanders did yesterday. They'll get another shot against the Pens tomorrow at the Igloo.
Michael Peca skipped a second straight game with a left leg laceration . . . Isles, who trail only Detroit's 23 home wins this season, came in with three regulation losses in the last 17 games, while the Pens came in with three wins in their previous 24 . . . Snow got the start in net, according to Stirling, because Rick DiPietro remained sore from being struck in the knee with a shot in Buffalo Friday.
Malone's goal gives Pens win
By Joe Starkey
Monday, March 1, 2004
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Ryan Malone has played only 64 NHL games but already is tied with Kevin Stevens for fourth place on the Penguins' all-time list for overtime goals.
Even on bad days, they can make big plays.
Malone's goal at 2:45 of overtime, his third overtime winner on his only shot of the game, gave the Penguins a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders. It also gave them four of a possible six points on their three-game road trip.
Not bad, considering they'd gone 18 games without a victory before that.
This one, like the one in Phoenix five days earlier, ended with a jubilant, bench-clearing celebration.
"It was a heck of a trip for us," coach Eddie Olczyk said. "A gutsy trip."
Pleased as he was with the outcome, which occurred against one of the league's better home teams, Olczyk wasn't thrilled with Malone's performance.
"I'll be honest with you, I think it was probably one of Ryan's worst games," Olczyk said. "He wasn't very sharp, but he's learning to be a difference maker."
Malone agreed with his coach.
"It felt like one of those games where you skate around and don't do anything," he said. "It ended up working out all right, though."
The goal was Malone's 20th of the season, making him the first Penguins rookie since Shawn McEachern in 1992-93 to score 20 goals.
Defenseman Ric Jackman started the play when he gained the blue line and fired a pass toward the slot. Aleksey Morozov re-directed it out of mid-air off goaltender Garth Snow, and Malone whacked home the rebound.
Smiles permeated the winning dressing room.
"Winning is why we play," said goaltender Andy Chiodo, who made 38 saves and raised his record to 2-3.
There were several similarities between this victory and the one in Phoenix, besides the fact both were in overtime. For one, faceoffs proved critical. The Penguins scored twice directly off faceoff wins.
Also, they had to kill of a string of penalties. They killed eight minutes worth in the first period, including a two-man disadvantage for 1:29. They gave up only three shots in that span.
Finally, Olczyk had scheduled an off-day the day before the game. The Penguins traveled from San Jose on Saturday.
"We reminded the coaches that we're 2-0 with off days," defenseman Brooks Orpik said.
The Islanders scored first, with 5.2 seconds left in the first period, when Janne Niinimaa's long shot off a faceoff win banked off the shin pad of defenseman Dan Focht.
That could have been a spirit-smasher, but the Penguins tied it at 1:08 of the second, when Milan Kraft won a draw to Tomas Surovy, who unleashed a bullet shot over Snow's glove.
The Islanders went ahead on Oleg Kvasha's short-handed goal at 12:14 of the second. The Penguins tied it at 19:25 of the second, when Kraft won a faceoff to Dick Tarnstrom, who slid a pass to Jackman at the left point.
Jackman lashed a one-timer past Snow for his sixth goal of the season and fourth in nine games with the Penguins.
The Penguins had been 0-3-1 against the Islanders. The teams play again Tuesday, when the Penguins will try to break their NHL-record, 14-game home losing streak.
Olczyk wasn't quite ready to address that subject.
"Let's get home first," he said, smiling, "and we'll talk about that tomorrow."
Notebook: Chiodo continues to impress
By Joe Starkey
Monday, March 1, 2004
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Expect rookie goaltender Andy Chiodo to start his fourth consecutive game Tuesday against the New York Islanders, the same team that drafted him three years ago but could not sign him.
Chiodo re-entered the draft this past June, and the Penguins snagged him 199th overall.
It's looking like a good pick. Chiodo's confidence has rubbed off on his teammates.
Since his recall from Wilkes-Barre on Feb. 17, Chiodo is 2-3 with a 3.00 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. That includes a 3-2 victory Sunday against the New York Islanders, when the Penguins were outshot 40-24.
"The goalie having confidence gives everyone else confidence," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "He's intense, and I knew from camp he was real committed -- the first guy on and the last guy off every day."
"He's brought energy," coach Eddie Olczyk said. "He's given up some tough goals, but he's battled back."
Chiodo started his first NHL game against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Feb. 18, a 4-2 loss.
Even then, he was upbeat.
"If you check anything I've said since training camp, I've said this is a helluva group of guys," Chiodo said.
The Penguins do not expect defenseman Ric Jackman to be a point-per-game scorer for the balance of his career, but that's exactly what he is since his arrival from Toronto in the Drake Berehowsky trade.
Jackman had a goal and an assist yesterday, giving him nine points (four goals, five assists) in nine games since the deal.
"We're just giving him an opportunity," Olczyk said. "We knew he was a super-high pick (fifth overall by Dallas in 1996), and it's about getting a chance. We've told him, 'If you make a mistake, we're going to throw you back out there.' "
"They deserved everything they got today." -- Islanders coach Steve Stirling, complimenting the Penguins.
"You need to grab it and hang your hat on it and say, 'This is what's going to carry us, and let's build off it.' There's no reason now why we can't put a good streak together and make it a great finish." -- Olczyk.
"Those are the best three of my career so far." -- Penguins winger Ryan Malone, on his three overtime goals.
The Penguins' penalty killers went 10 for 11 in wins over Phoenix and San Jose. Islanders defenseman Janne Niinimaa said his team was "surprised" at how the normally passive Penguins came at him. ...
Olczyk said he believes his team's best overall performance on the trip was the 4-2 loss Friday at San Jose. ... Mario Lemieux accompanied the team for its entire three-game trip and was shaking hands in the dressing room after the victory yesterday. ... The Penguins scratched LW Kelly Buchberger and D Marc Bergevin. The Islanders scratched C Michael Peca (leg) and RW Eric Godard.
Malone's goal in OT lifts Penguins
Monday, March 01, 2004
By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Seems this concept of winning already is getting stale for the Penguins.
How else to explain their fairly mellow celebration after beating the New York Islanders, 3-2 in overtime, yesterday at Nassau Coliseum?
"Not quite like Phoenix," defenseman Brooks Orpik said, referring to the emotional victory five days earlier that ended an 0-17-0-1 streak. "That was more of a relief."
How else to explain the calm and cool of goaltender Andy Chiodo, who made 38 saves, then acted as if he had just circled through a morning skate?
"It's sweet," he said. "But you know what? This is how we should be playing."
Above all, how else to explain the coach finding fault with the performance of the player who scored the winning goal?
Minutes after left winger Ryan Malone buried a rebound 2:45 into overtime and was mobbed by teammates, coach Eddie Olczyk hesitated before offering to reporters his evaluation of Malone's overall showing. And it was not generous.
"To be honest with you ... that was probably one of Ryan's worst games. I don't think he was very sharp," Olczyk said. "He's learning to be a difference-maker, and he's scored some big goals for us, no question about it. But we needed more from him this afternoon, and we didn't get it."
Malone logged 20:18 of ice time, more than any of the Penguins' forwards, but he did not register his first shot until scoring. More to the consternation of the coaching staff, he did not perform to par defensively.
If Malone took issue with Olczyk's assessment when informed of it, he did not let it show, acknowledging that he failed to make routine plays for most of regulation.
"It felt like one of those games where you skate around and don't do anything," he said. "But it worked out all right in the end."
No one on the Penguins' side would dispute that.
The winning play began with defenseman Ric Jackman keeping the puck inside the New York blue line, then neatly zipping with it to the right boards. Right winger Aleksey Morozov bolted through the slot, catching Jackman's eye.
"Once I saw Mo there, I just wanted to get it to where I thought he would be," Jackman said. "I got him right in front."
Morozov deflected the sharp pass even though the puck was about 6 inches off the ice, but Islanders goaltender Garth Snow stopped it with the blocker.
"I just wanted to get a piece of it," Morozov said. "He made a good save."
But the rebound dropped to the left edge of the crease, where a stationary Malone rapped it between Snow's leg pads for his team-leading 20th goal, his third in overtime.
"I just ended up getting a lucky bounce," Malone said. "Garbage goal."
The Penguins' penalty-killing dominated the first period.
Starting at 12:56, they were short-handed for all but nine seconds a span of 6:40, thanks to four defensemen being penalized in rapid succession. Included was 1:29 in which they were down two men. But they kept the Islanders scoreless with only three shots over the full stretch.
That made it all the more painful when, with 5.2 seconds left in the period, Islanders defenseman Janne Niinimaa flicked a harmless-looking shot from the left point that caromed off the leg of Penguins defenseman Dan Focht and sailed over Chiodo's shoulder.
"We worked very hard all that time," Olczyk said. "And that happens."
The Penguins bounced back 1:08 into the second on left winger Tomas Surovy's 11th goal 1:08 into the second. In the left circle of the New York zone, center Milan Kraft beat Islanders counterpart Eric Manlow to feed Surovy behind him. Surovy released a powerful shot to the top, far corner past Snow.
The Penguins finally got their first power play at 10:32 -- after New York had the first four -- but it was the Islanders who got a goal from center Oleg Kvasha at 12:14. Kvasha took a shot from the left dot between the legs of defenseman Dick Tarnstrom and, when Tarnstrom failed to prevent him from going to the net, easily poked the rebound through Chiodo's pads.
But Jackman tied the score at 19:25 on another power play. Kraft again beat Manlow on the draw, this time in the right circle, and Tarnstrom went point to point for Jackman, whose wicked slap shot beat Snow to the same spot Surovy did.
Chiodo made 14 saves in the third to keep the Penguins tied, and the stage was set for the surprising conclusion to an even more surprising 2-1 road trip played in three time zones over five days.
"We've got to feel good about that," Chiodo said. "Two wins in three games is a pretty decent week on the road for any team."
Olczyk suggested that it could be the start of something.
"We need to grab it, hang our hat on it and see if it can carry us," he said. "There's no reason now why we can't put a real good streak together and make it a great finish."
Penguins report: 3/1/04
Monday, March 01, 2004
By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
New York Islanders vs. Penguins, 7:38 p.m. tomorrow, Mellon Arena. TV, radio: Fox Sports Net; WWSW-FM (94.5), WBGG-AM (970).
The Penguins scratched C Mario Lemieux (hip), LW Kelly Buchberger (heel), LW Ramzi Abid (knee), LW Steve McKenna (chest), D Michal Rozsival (knee), D Martin Strbak (foot) and D Marc Bergevin for their game yesterday against the New York Islanders. Buchberger has an infected bone spur in his heel, and it is not known how long he will be out. The Islanders scratched C Michael Peca (leg), C Alexei Yashin (arm), D Radek Martinek (ankle) and RW Eric Godard.
NHL statistics will show that the Penguins rank 27th of 30 teams in faceoff winning percentage at 47.1. The numbers from their 3-2 overtime victory yesterday are even worse: They won 27 and lost 43, a success rate of 39 percent. But there was no doubt that they won most of the draws that mattered. New York's first goal came on a lost faceoff in the defensive zone by C Rico Fata, but C Milan Kraft made up for that by setting up both of the Penguins' regulation goals with clean victories against Islanders C Eric Manlow. "Faceoffs are a big part of the game," Kraft said. "I just wanted to get the puck back, and my teammates did a great job getting the goals." Coach Eddie Olczyk and his staff continue to spend extensive time practicing faceoffs. "It's a way to create offense," Olczyk said. "For us, it created two goals."
Manlow, usually one of the Islanders' best faceoff men, was benched for the rest of the game by coach Steve Stirling after the Penguins' second goal at 19:25 of the second period.
It hardly qualifies as news anymore when one of the Penguins' opponents compliments them on working hard. It has happened before and after nearly every game this season. But the Islanders yesterday took that a step further. C Oleg Kvasha: "They played hard, but they played good, too." D Janne Niinimaa: "They surprised us with how hard they came at us, especially on the penalty-killing." The Islanders are in the eighth and final Stanley Cup playoff position in the Eastern Conference, and they would have benefited from added cushion against ninth-place Buffalo. But Stirling, too, had more good to say about the Penguins than bad about his players: "We were lucky to get the point."
G Andy Chiodo's second NHL victory had a secondary meaning for him. He was a sixth-round pick of the Islanders in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, but New York management elected not to sign him within the required two years and allowed him to re-enter the draft in June. The Penguins made him their seventh-round choice, and he appears to be justifying their confidence with each game. He is 3-4 with a 3.00 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.
The Penguins had a built-in excuse for failure, having arrived in New York a day earlier from San Jose and playing an afternoon game less than 48 hours after losing to the Sharks Friday night. "This was a tough turn for us, traveling like we did all day," Olczyk said. But Chiodo said that never crossed his mind as a reason he might not perform well. "No excuses," Chiodo said. "Last year, I was making 12-hour bus rides across Ontario. This was just a plane ride, first class."
It is safe to say that few inside or outside the Penguins' organization would have dared forecast that they would win two of three games on this trip after going 0-17-0-1 in their previous 18. But the most unusual aspect might be that they turned in their strongest overall showing in the middle game, the 4-2 loss in San Jose. "The game that we played the best was the one that we lost," Olczyk said. The trip started with a 4-3 overtime victory Wednesday in Phoenix.
Lemieux attended all three games of the trip.