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Nabokov: Game 1 ‘too easy’ for Pens

May 1, 2013, 11:05 PM EDT


Evgeni Nabokov had a message for himself and the rest of the Islanders in the wake of Wednesday’s 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Pittsburgh:

We’ve got to make it harder on these guys.

“It’s got to hurt to play,” the veteran netminder told Newsday. “It was too easy.”

The Isles were outgunned early and often in their first postseason appearance since 2007.

Beau Bennett scored just 3:30 into the contest — on the power play — and Nabokov lasted less than two minutes into the second period before he was hooked, finishing with four goals allowed on 15 shots.

Afterward, he said the Isles simply didn’t challenge the Pens enough.

“We have to make it hard on them on every inch of the ice,” he explained. “It’s the only way we can win.”

The Isles won’t be happy with their overall performance, but perhaps most concerned about Nabokov’s play.

Arguably their second most valuable player during the regular season next to leading scorer John Tavares, the 37-year-old Russian was overaggressive and out of position on Jarome Iginla‘s first-period shot — which led to Pascal Dupuis‘ marker at 13:23.

(Nabokov also appeared shaken after taking an Iginla shot to the mask.)

He then proceeded to allow two goals in a 32-second stretch during the second frame that wiped out any chance of an Isles comeback.

Backup Kevin Poulin was inserted and made his postseason debut, but didn’t look much better. He allowed a bad-angle goal to Tanner Glass and simply isn’t a viable option should Nabokov continue to struggle.

  1. devilsarethebest - May 1, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Mike, Bennett scored a few minutes into the game, not 30 seconds in.

    • Mike Halford - May 2, 2013 at 12:31 AM

      typo. three minutes and 30 seconds, not 30 seconds.

  2. Stiller43 - May 1, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    “Beau Bennett scored just 30 seconds into the contest — on the power play —”

    That was like 3 and a half min into the game, not 30 seconds.

    • Mike Halford - May 2, 2013 at 12:31 AM

      typo. three minutes and 30 seconds in, not 30 secs. my bad.

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - May 2, 2013 at 5:58 AM

      Iam sorry did you say on the power play ?

  3. Stiller43 - May 1, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    It was easy to watch as a pens fan too!! Thanks nabokov!

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - May 2, 2013 at 5:58 AM

      Thanks refs !

      • bobhpine - May 2, 2013 at 9:45 AM

        Each team had four power play opprtunities. But don’t let the facts get in the way of your intelligent conspiracy theories.

        I hear they let invalids in at public libraries during the day. Why don’t you look up some microfiche articles about the Flyers last Stanley Cup? You know, since the actual newspapers would have disintegrated by now.

      • miketoasty - May 2, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        Funny, just checked the numbers for the 2013 season. The Pens ranked 2nd on PP chances, you know who was right behind them in 3rd? Yep, the Philadelphia Flyers. Guess the ref’s are on their side too?

  4. bcisleman - May 1, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    Listened on radio, but I don’t think this could be blamed on Nabby. He was being overwhelmed. The second goal, for example, happened on the 4th rebound! I also wouldn’t discount the possibility that he may have been compromised by the shot he took to the head.

    As for Poulin, he apparently allowed a softee, but it was the only goal he allowed. I think Mike was being a bit harsh on him.

    Win or lose, Isles need to come back harder. Cappy needs to learn from this. Its his first NHL playoff game as well, so he deserves a little slack. But the Isles need to be better prepared on Friday.

    • jpelle82 - May 2, 2013 at 9:23 AM

      the penguins took their foot off the pedal after the 4th goal, the fifth by glass was just a fluke from a bad angle, wasnt even a scoring chance. poulin didnt see much of an attack at all, just a lot of dump in and shots from above the circles. i dont think it was all nabokov’s fault but he didnt help the cause, both letang and bennett went short side on him and he had a clear view of the shot. the rebounds by dupuis were just good work and positioning by the pens and poor coverage by the islanders. i wouldve pulled him too if i were capuano, not for his performance necessarily but just to get him out of there, pens were just teeing off on him, capuano had to protect nabokov’s ego a bit and try to get his team to rally behind something.

    • blackfoot11 - May 2, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      The Isles received there welcome to the SC playoffs moment last night. Their inexperience was apparent from the opening puck drop. I was surpised at their performance b/c they have done well on the road this season, but the SC playoff is a different animal. Will be curious to see if they can acclimate quickly and adjust in Game 2.

  5. sjsharks66 - May 2, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    As soon as he got that puck in the helmet I was yelling at the Islanders coaches to take him out to get checked.

    4 goals later they decided maybe that shot hurt him. Idiots! Was not Nabby’s fault they lost those. How many shots did John T have?

    • sportsfreak13 - May 2, 2013 at 12:45 AM

      0 shots and he got hit a lot. I would bet he has absorbed the most hits so far this series.

      • hockeywithdrawal - May 2, 2013 at 8:19 AM

        Yeah Morrow wouldn’t leave him alone…i think it started getting to him later in the game – I’m interested to see how he reacts to that. He’s a sturdy kid, though, you have to give him that. Gets up quick, every time.

      • jpelle82 - May 2, 2013 at 9:30 AM

        he gets up but he just looks like a big puss out there. he had no compete in his game last night…he looks like he would rather be somewhere else. when letang dropped him on that reverse check behind the pens net, it completely demoralized him, didnt help that nobody on the islanders stood up for him either.

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - May 2, 2013 at 6:30 AM

      No you weren’t your a pens fan !

  6. thewaytonever - May 2, 2013 at 5:23 AM

    As a Sharks fan I can tell you that this may not fall squarely on Nanny but he is a Shaky net minder in the Playoffs. Isles have to play better in front of him. if he can see it he can stop it most of the time. But he CANNOT steal a series. Isles will have to reach deep if they want to win this series. good luck to you guys. and congrats on making it back to the dance.

  7. mclovinhockey - May 2, 2013 at 5:56 AM

    This game reminded me of HBO’s Oz. The islanders really dropped the soap.

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - May 2, 2013 at 6:00 AM

      Sounds like you might want to come out as the first openly gay PHT poster ! Its ok you will be a hero

      • 19to77 - May 2, 2013 at 10:56 AM

        Oh, shut up, you utter tool.

  8. myroncopesflask - May 2, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    The goaltender was not the problem for the Isles. The Pens depth is the problem and from what I can see the additions Shero made at the deadline make this team very scary. I know Gary Roberts quickly became a legend in Pittsburgh but Morrow looks like Gary Roberts with skill. Morrow hits everything that moves or looks like it might move. After the Pens traded for Iginla the Morrow deal got lost in the shuffle but this guy is intense. The Isles are a young team and I know they were mostly worried about containing the Pens skill players and clogging up the space in front of their net but the very second Morrow jumped on the ice it became very clear that NY realized they were in over their head.

    Big ups to Disco Dan for giving Beau Bennett a sweater. This kid has shown that he has top 6 potential as well as the hockey I.Q. to play any role he is given. The way Bennett can receive any pass is a very good sign that he has bright future when he gets a chance to play with Sid Or Geno.

    I can’t understand why Kris Letang doesn’t get more pub? When he is on the ice he owns every inch. He skates faster in reverse than most do going foward and he has the strongest legs outside of Sid. I sure hope that Shero finds a way to lock this guy up long term!
    What a great game by every player on the Pens roster last night. I know it is only one game but I cannot think of a logical reason to think this series is going past 5 games.

  9. myroncopesflask - May 2, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    I sure hope Tavares can step it up! If he doesn’t wake up he is going to killed out there. I love that the Pens are making him earn every inch of ice but I don’t want this kid to die. I got a feeling he is going to try and get a PFA for Morrow by the end of the series. It’s like Morrow is attached to his sweater waiting for him to look down so he can drill him.

  10. jaybaileys - May 2, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    Look dude I love Letang, but this fascination with him being the best defenseman in the league (Norris) is delusional. He’s a great offensive defenseman who pinches a lot and is seen having to haul ass back to get back in the play. I think he gives the puck away far too much also. He is turning into a solid PP quaterback but this campaign to get him the Norris is just wrong. He is no where near in the league of Nick Lidstrom, that’s what I think of when I wanna talk about best defenseman. I realize he retired, just trying to make a point. This year Shea Weber maybe, but they didnt make the playoffs so it’s like he didn’t even play as far as the awards go.

    • jpelle82 - May 2, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      i think you are missing the part where he matches up against the best every night and does a very good job at it. he might turn the puck over but rarely if ever in his own zone, its usually trying to stretch pass or entering the offensive zone. he doesnt have a problem getting back, he is faster than most forwards, he closes well and can hit with the best of them, just ask tavares, letang owned him all night – held him to 0 shots and he must have knocked him down 3 or 4 times. he is an excellent 2 way defenseman and a clear norris candidate every year – should have one by now if he wasnt hurt. i wouldnt call him a lidstrom but i would take him over weber, doughty, pietrangelo any day – karlsson gets a lot of attention because he is so young still, letang is better and more physical in his own zone than karlsson.

    • myroncopesflask - May 2, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      Sorry bud I don’t think you have watched Letang very often if you thing he turns the puck over too much. The reason why he stands out every time he is on the ice is because he can be aggressive in the offensive zone and has the speed to get back in time. You will not see a single player make him look silly 1 on 1 not even Sid or Geno. He plays every possible situation and excels in all of them.
      The only flaw in letangs game that shows up now and again is that he has a short temper and will take a silly penalty for drilling somebody without the puck. He gets overlooked because of the other skill players on the team but he is twice the defensive player as Karlson who cannot hit anybody and Subban who tries too hard for the cheap shot and gets torched. The players that are better than Letang defensively cannot carry his jock offensively. Is he the best at any specific side of the game maybe not. There is nobody that is even comparable when you look at offense and defensive skills combined.

  11. dxs326 - May 2, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Lots of well-articulated and polite comments today. Good job everyone. Well, except that “eigglesnosuperbowls” joke. Can’t we get him kicked off the site already?

  12. iHeartHockey31 - May 2, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Has Garth Snow called Tim Thomas yet?

  13. joelwrobinson - May 2, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Exact reason the Sharks let him go. Guy sucks in the postseason.

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