UNIONDALE, N.Y. (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will look to push the New York Islanders to the brink of elimination when the puck drops for Game 4 tonight.
In Game 3, the Penguins escaped with a 5-4 win when Chris Kunitz scored on the power play in overtime.
There was much scrutiny over whether or not the Penguins should have been afforded that man-advantage opportunity.
Sidney Crosby drew a holding call on former-Penguin Brian Strait while driving to the net. Strait got both hands on Crosby, including his left arm being draped over the top of Crosby’s left arm/shoulder from behind. The two also clipped skate blades, Crosby went down and the referee’s arm went up.
By rule, the correct call was made on the ice and the Penguins capitalized on their opportunity to take a 2-1 series lead.
However, the Islanders carried the play for the majority of the game. Penalty trouble is what ultimately cost them as the Penguins went 3-for-5 on the power play in the game.
It was the second straight game that the Islanders had dominated play during 5-on-5 situations.
For the series, they have outshot the Penguins 104-84.
Matt Moulson (two goals, one assist) and Kyle Okposo (two goals, one assist) lead the team with three points. They are also tied for the team-lead in goals.
In goal, Evgeni Nabokov has allowed 12 goals on 73 shots for a .836 save percentage to go along with a 4.77 GAA.
For the Penguins, Evgeni Malkin (one goal, five assists) leads the team with six points Jarome Iginla (one goal, four assists) and Crosby, (two goals, three assists) are tied for second with five points.
Pascal Dupuis leads the team with three goals.
In goal, Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed eight goals on 104 shots for a .923 save percentage to go along with a 2.56 GAA.
The Penguins have been without defenseman Brooks Orpik for the first three games of the series as he recovers from a lower-body injury. Orpik participated in an optional skate on Tuesday, but his status for Game 4 has not been released.
James Neal left during the second period of Game 1 after taking a hit from Travis Hamonic. Neal fell awkwardly to the ice and did not return to the game. Neal was also a participant in Tuesday’s optional skate and his status is unknown for Game 4.
UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: According to KDKA-TV’s Jory Rand, Neal will be back in the lineup tonight for Game 4.
Three Keys For Game 4
For Pittsburgh to be successful in tonight’s game, they will need to do a better job of getting pucks deep and sustaining pressure in the offensive zone. They were successful in Game 1 by doing just that and have gotten away from it over the last two games.
Attention to detail in their own end and limiting turnovers will also be key. The Islanders have been able to pin the Penguins in their own zone and have been able to utilize their team speed to gain an advantage during 5-on-5 play.
Nabokov has not been good in this series. He’s been off his angle at times and does not look confident in the cage. The Penguins need to take a page from the Islanders’ playbook right now and fire pucks his way early and often. Shoot the puck and crash the net for rebounds. Do not give him a chance to build confidence and have an easy go of it.
The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. and you can watch the game on Root Sports.
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