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Isles’ second period collapse leads to 7-0 blowout loss against Penguins

December 29, 2023, 12:12 AM ET [46 Comments]
Ben Shelley
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The New York Islanders returned from the holiday break with just about the worst performance possible, suffering a 7-0 blowout loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins last night.

The game actually started alright for New York, with what was a pretty slow opening frame. The Islanders ended up killing off a couple penalties, including a needless cross-checking minor for Robert Bortuzzo after the whistle, and got to intermission scoreless.

It’s the second period where everything fell apart. First, Rickard Rakell managed to open the scoring, and even though a whistle had gone and the goal was originally waived off, the call was overturned and the Penguins took the lead. Then only minutes after that, Jake Guentzel scored not once, but twice in a span of only 12 seconds (even if separated by an Islanders' timeout), and all of a sudden, it was a three-goal game.

Pittsburgh continued to crush the New York from there, with Evgeni Malkin scoring twice in the remaining stretch of the frame, before Radim Zohorna finished off a 2-on-1 late in the period to cap off a six-goal second frame for the Penguins.

Valtteri Puustinen then ended up scoring his first NHL goal in the third period against Semyon Varlamov to make it a 7-0 game (who had entered in relief for Ilya Sorokin), as the Penguins cruised to the win from there, with the sound of boos raining down on the Islanders as final horn sounded.

You couldn’t really draw up much of a worse outing for the Islanders, coming back from a break which they had entered with some momentum. It’s almost difficult to point out any specific individual performances, given nobody was really going at all.

Noah Dobson had a rough night, going minus-four and being caught out of position countless times – but again, you can point out flaws about pretty much any member of the defense group. It’s not like New York had much going at the other end either though, barely generating any offense at all through 40 minutes and being outshot 25-11 over that stretch.

Both the top line and third line were outscored 3-0 last night, and the second line was the only one to outshoot their opponents while on the ice together at 5-on-5, according to NaturalStatTrick.com. Unfortunately for Oliver Wahlstrom, it’s likely we see him right back in the press box after that outing – he played just over eight minutes on route to his minus-three rating, while all other forwards on the team reached at least 12 minutes in ice time.

Semyon Varlamov has also now been listed as day-to-day, so hopefully it’s nothing that will keep him out of action, but Ken Appleby has been recalled in the meantime.

I guess if you’re looking for positives, the Islanders’ penalty kill went 3-for-3 and did a great job shutting down the Penguins on their power play opportunities. New York’s power play, on the other hand, was relatively useless.

We did also witness some history in the loss, as Kris Letang became the first defensemen in NHL history to register five points in a single period. Of course, it came at the Islanders' expense, but that remains a pretty wild feat.

As bad of a loss as it is, it’s just one bad outing (and more precisely, maybe just one bad period). A very, very bad game/period at that, but still, there’s no cause for panic if the Islanders can rebound in their next game. They’ll return to action at home tomorrow night against the Washington Capitals.


- Islanders sneak past Hurricanes, but win doesn’t inspire much confidence
- Concerns with Islanders continue to mount despite better results
- Islanders earn big win over Blue Jackets, Bortuzzo acquired from Blues
- Isles carrying some momentum following OT wins over Kings and Leafss
- Islanders still need to build consistency following successful stretch
- Islanders can end 2023 on a high coming out of holiday break
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