Geez. The Isles had to know that after losing three in a row, the Penguins were going to be looking for a win in a big way.
And the Penguins had to know the Isles have been struggling, pretty much from minute one of the season.
But I don’t think anyone saw last night’s 9-2 blowout coming. The Islanders gave up two hat tricks. Shockingly, it was Penguin Petr Sykora’s first career hat trick.
It was a brutal loss for the Isles. Well maybe not all of the Isles. Jon Sim, recently benched and waived by the Isles, had to take some pleasure in the loss.
It’s easy to point to goaltending as a huge factor in the loss, and while neither Joey McDonald nor Yann Danis were sharp, it’s tough facing 33 shots in the first two periods. In fact, McDonald’s been quite the work horse for the Islanders. Goalie Rick “Decade” DiPietro expects to be back in goal by Christmas, but with his high-flying goaltending, the Islanders might have given up 10 or 11 goals to Pittsburgh.
Islanders coach Scott Gordon has juggled lines a bit in the past game or two, while remaining committed to an aggressive forechecking system. Unfortunately, it seems to be putting a lot of pressure on his defensemen, who seem to get flustered when the opposing teams cross the blue line. Obviously, forwards need to be more defensively responsible, but maybe Gordon needs to play his blueline more conservatively, while keeping his forwards assertive. I know teams like Detroit play a five-man offense, where everyone on the ice is involved, but the Islander defensemen need to worry about helping out their goalie, whoever he is.