Yann Danis is a golden god. I’m not just saying that because I’m dead sick with the flu and have watched â€œAlmost Famousâ€ three times in the past two days.
He’s been that good this season and last night, he was great.
However, a Petr Sykora goal late in the third was enough to ruin an otherwise spectacular night from the Isles goaltender in a 1-0 loss to the Pens.
The first period was a weird one, as neither team did much to establish a forecheck or any type of advantage. Danis did a solid job, especially of handling his rebounds, but Pittsburgh made his job way too easy. I don’t know what the book is on Danis, but the Penguins were taking shots from extremely high in the offensive zone and to no avail. It was almost like they got a tip that the guy can’t stop the shot from the point. I don’t know where they got their information and it obviously didn’t pay off for them, as both teams skated in their respective locker rooms with the game still scoreless.
The Islanders were far too timid in the first, but started to get going over the last few minutes in the first, getting several good scoring opportunities. Sean Bergenheim and Radek Martinek had great chances in the second, which was played with much more vigor, but couldn’t convert. The Islanders powerplay failed to even amount a shot on goal in the period, keeping the game scoreless. The team’s second powerplay wasn’t much better, as the Isles couldn’t get a decent shot off. As a matter of fact, they could barely stay in Pittsburgh’s zone.
Overall, while I thought the Penguins were the better team in the first, the Islanders skated much harder in the second period, making the third period an interesting one to watch. Remember, the Penguins needed this win big time, while the Islanders youngsters are doing everything they can to prove themselves. There was a lot at stake here. However, the element of desperation just wasn’t really there going into the the third period.
The beginning of the third was a bit different though, as the Islanders came out with some jam and it was there where Marc-Andre Fleury earned his paycheck for the night, making several high-quality saves. The Isles got another powerplay opportunity after a few minutes, but that was wasted once Brendan Witt was thrown on the ice as a screen in front of the net. I don’t know guys, why would Isles head coach Scott Gordon put Witt, a guy with 23 career goals on the powerplay in a 0-0 game? I know it’s not the first time he’s done it this season, but it makes as much sense as openly admitting that you enjoy listening to George Michael. Not a way to produce offense if you ask me.
Evgeni Malkin nailed a post around the midway point of the third and even had a powerplay opportunity afterwards, but they too couldn’t light the lamp, mostly due to Danis’ play rather than anything the Penguins were doing.
Things started to change soon afterwards, as the Penguins were beginning to fly on the ice. Sykora then made the Isles pay and that was enough to spoil an amazing effort by Danis.
Not fair, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.
This post was written by Patrick Hickey, Jr. on February 26, 2009