No brawl on the Island this time, but in Evgeni Malkin's first game back from a knee injury, Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins shutout the New York Islanders 3-0. While the Islanders couldn't cash in on any of their 33 shots for the night, the Penguins' took advantage of three turnovers to support Fleury's performance.
For the early portion of the game, the Isles played decent defense in front of Evgeni Nabokov, and they ended up blocking 30 shots in total. The Islanders had significant time in Pittsburgh's zone, as the Pens were not necessarily better on defense. Both teams were equal in takeaways with 13 each, and the Islanders actually had five fewer giveaways.
The turnovers began to hurt the Islanders by the end of the first period, though. With three minutes remaining, a missed Brian Rolston shot came around the net and went around to Brooks Orpik, who tossed it from the Pens' zone to Pascal Dupuis for a breakaway goal as the Isles broke down and forgot to play defense.
Another defensive breakdown occurred 21 seconds into the second period as Arron Asham, an ex-Islander himself, swiped the puck from an opponent, quickly passed it back to Richard Park, another former Islander, who scored Pittsburgh's second goal.
In addition to the Pens turnover efficiency and in contrast to the Islanders' failure to create quality scoring chances was Fleury's solid showing. Fleury did his job to bail his team out and when needed to earn his 20th career-shutout and third career-shutout against the Islanders.
Fleury, coupled with the few converted opportunities the Pens had to get a good look at Nabokov, were the difference makers. Pittsburgh has lost 43-man games due to injuries to key players so far this season, and it certainly helps that players like Park, Staal and Fleury in net have stepped up.
Tuesday's game was a relatively disciplined game with five penalties combined. We'll see if this remains the case in Thursday night's rematch in Pittsburgh.
This story was written by Angie Lewis. For more on the game from the Pittsburgh perspective, check in with SB Nation Pittsburgh and Penguins blog Pensburgh. For more on the game from the New York perspective, check in with SB Nation New York and Islanders blog Lighthouse Hockey.