It was a pretty bad effort put on by the Pittsburgh Penguins at home against the Islanders on Tuesday night. The Penguins sat back and quickly got punched in the mouth in the 1st period by the Islanders. The defence was weak and Matt Murray was even worse in the crease. Just when it looked like Matt Murray was going to be fine, he has a bad start like that and doubt begins to manifest itself in Penguins’ fans. In what was an unsightly performance, Murray was pulled after allowing 4 goals against the Islanders.
He allowed 4 goals on 9 shots to hand him an embarrassing .556 save percentage in less than 2 periods of work. Murray has to shape up or it’s going to be a long season for the Pens. I don’t mean an occasional good outing, but Murray has to play consistently well. If he doesn’t to falter, one would think that the Pens might be open to a trade for a new goaltender.
The decision to free Marc-Andre Fleury for the expansion draft and go all-in on Murray was debated. At the time, though, it did look like the right decision. Last season and the success Fleury had in Vegas tells a different story. Mike Condon is available on waivers if they want to kick the can. No, that wasn’t a serious comment, Condon is going to have to hope several goaltenders get injured to find an NHL roster.
Despite the loss the Pens still sport a nice 6-2-1 record. It was only their second loss in regulation, but issues between the pipes like we seen with Murray on Tuesday, will undoubtably result in trouble for the Penguins in 2017-18. That especially goes for the playoffs when a sharp goaltender can carry or kill a team. Thomas Greiss is expected to get the nod for the Isles in net. Robin Lehner was replaced by Greiss after he exited the game with an injury. Lehner is currently day-to-day. Greiss looked good with 1 goal allowed on 13 shots. Head below for our free Penguins vs. Islanders pick.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. N.Y. Islanders Pick
The Islanders advanced to 6-4-1 with the win over the Penguins. Without John Tavares on the roster, the Islanders are going to experience a lot of ups and downs. One night they might look like a last place team, and then others they show up to play like we saw on Tuesday. There likely isn’t going to be any middle ground with the Isles.
They’d probably win some more games with Tavares, but they can patch up some holes with the extra money. The Isles have put together a nice three-game winning streak, with wins over the Flyers, Hurricanes, and Pens. They’ve quietly been playing well on both ends of the ice, with an average of 3.27 goals scored and 2.55 goals allowed per game.
If we’re just going by offence, the Penguins would be leading the league with 4.3 goals per game. They are 1st in scoring by a pretty comfortable margin. The defence and goaltending has been holding them back, though. Some people want to criticize Kris Letang, but it would be nice to have him on the blueline right about now. In any event, after getting shellacked, expect a much better effort from the Penguins. They were on a four-game winning streak before the Isles bumped them off the road, but things should look better for the team in black and hold.