11 December 2011
Uniondale, NY -- The Islanders six game point streak came to an end last night with a sobering 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins James Neal tied the game twice before his team wrestled control of the game away from the Islanders. They were also assisted by a controversial penalty called against Travis Hamonic; a five-minute major elbowing and a game misconduct.
The play in question occurred at the 7:35 mark of the second period with the Islanders already on the penalty kill. Orpik passes the puck off to a teammate and Travis Hamonic gives Orpik a shove. Incidentally from the shove by Hamonic, Orpik hits himself in the face with his own stick.
The refs called Hamonic for elbowing gave him a five-minute major, a game misconduct and sent him to the dressing room.
“It was a joke, that’s how I saw it,” Marke Streit said about the call after the game. “I mean it’s ridiculous, but referees make mistakes too and we just gotta keep working.”
Hamonic was visible frustrated with the call after the game as well. He told reporters that that was a play he wouldn’t have even been credited with a hit.
“You watch the play and I skate by him and I make minimal contact with the opposing player,” he said still upset over the call. “He hits himself in the forehead with his own stick and he goes down and he’s bleeding. Next thing you know five minute major and I’m kicked out of the game. Tough call to make in those circumstances I guess.”
Hamonic, Streit and Islanders head coach all said they were not given an explanation regarding the penalty.
“I was just told to leave the rink because I had a five-minute major,” Hamonic explained. “You watch that replay and in my opinion that was a terrible call. I didn’t hit him, that wasn’t a head check, that’s not my style of play…and I didn’t in any sort of way. I kept my elbows down, hit him right in the stomach and he follows through with himself with his own stick and hits himself in the forehead.”Prior to the call against Hamonic the Islanders had a 3-2 lead. David Ullstrom scored his second career NHL goal on hard shot that found its’ way to the top right corner of the net. Milan Jurcina blasted a shot from the point to score on the power play to make it 2-0 Islanders.
The Penguins battled back to tie the game. Two minutes after the Jurcina goal Steve Sullivan scored the first Pittsburgh goal of the night from the slot. James Neal scored five minutes later to make it a 2-2 game.
Kyle Okposo gave the Islander back the lead nearly three minutes into the second period. The lead would be short lived. Jurcina took an interference call at 7:20 in the period followed by the controversial Hamonic penalty occurring 15 seconds later giving the Penguins a five on three power play. Neal scored on two man advantage to tie the game three and turn the tide in favor of the Penguins.
The Pens would go on to score three more times getting contributions from Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke and Paul Martin.
The penalty against Hamonic swung the momentum for the Penguins but the Islanders weren’t using it to excuse the loss.
“The reason that we lost that game was our terrible performance,” Streit said. “I think the problem was that we were up 2-0 and then we just thought it would be an easy game. Those guys were missing some key players and they completely out worked us. They out worked us when we had [a power play], they out worked us on five on five and it’s just a terrible effort. That’s about it.”
PA Parenteau concurred with Streits explination for the loss.
“This ones on us,” Parenteau started off saying. “We got outworked for most of the game and we can’t use excuses like that. I think for some reason we sat on that lead and you cant do that at this level. We’re not that good of a team either to do that kind of stuff. It’s a working process and we’re gunna have to put that one behind us, but we definitely got out worked for the most part of the game tonight.”
There was a stark difference between the way the Islanders started the game and finished. After outshooting Pittsburgh in the first period, the Pens outshot the Isles 20-14 through the next two periods. The Penguins also held possession of the puck longer and prevented the Islanders from really getting any momentum.
“The one thing we did early on is we got pucks to the net,” Capuano said after the game. We were driving wide on their D getting pucks on the net and then all of a sudden, for whatever reason we thought it was going to be easy, we played on the perimeter.”
He add, “They got the victory tonight because we were second to all lose pucks, we didn’t win puck battles and we didn’t deserve to win that game. I give them credit, they won the battles and they won the territorial battle and we just turned too many pucks over.”
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