Czerkawski scored two of New York's three man-advantage goals, and Garth Snow stopped 18 shots as the Islanders held on for a 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh on Wednesday night that sent the Penguins to their 16th straight loss.
``I just try to concentrate and stay positive,'' Czerkawski said. ``Every shift is challenging.''
Since the Penguins lost in overtime Saturday to St. Louis, their official losing streak ended at 13 games. The NHL record of 17 consecutive losses held by the 1974-75 Capitals and the 1992-1993 Sharks isn't in danger.
Roman Hamrlik and Kenny Jonsson also scored for the Islanders, 20-8-2 at home. The Islanders moved into sole possession of seventh place in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Montreal.
Tomas Surovy, Ric Jackman and Milan Kraft scored for the Penguins, who haven't won since beating Philadelphia on Jan. 12. Since then, Pittsburgh is 0-15-0-1.
Andy Chiodo made his first NHL start in goal for the Penguins and stopped 30 shots.
``I was so entrenched in the moment, I didn't have time to be that nervous,'' Chiodo said. ``It was pretty exciting the first time I was standing on that ice. I'll never forget that moment.''
The Islanders scored the only goal of the opening period while on a power play at 14:57, as Czerkawski's sharp-angle shot from the right circle hit the left post, bounced off Chiodo's backside, and dropped in.
``I came to realize if you give something to the shooter, he'll take it,'' Chiodo said. ``He surprised me with the shot.''
The Penguins only recorded four shots on Snow, one in the last 13 minutes of the period.
Surovy tied it at 6:54 of the second period as his slap shot from the upper right circle beat Snow just under the crossbar.
Pittsburgh grabbed the lead at 14:48 when Jackman's low left point slap shot beat Snow to the short side.
Czerkawski got the Islanders even at 2 with his second power-play goal of the game. He deflected Kenny Jonsson's point shot, which just tucked inside the right corner with 12.3 seconds left in the period.
``If we didn't get that goal from Mariusz at the end of the second, we lose the game,'' Islanders coach Steve Stirling said. ``It was really tough sledding for the first two periods, yet we were tied after that. Pittsburgh played a really good game.''
Czerkawski, with 21 goals, is second on the Islanders to rookie Trent Hunter's 22.
The Islanders took the lead for good on their only even-strength goal, as Hamrlik sneaked in from the point to one-time Michael Peca's pass past Chiodo at 2:53 of the third. Jonsson made it 4-2 at 6:29 with another power-play goal.
``I'm trying to jump in the play more,'' Hamrlik said. ``Batesy (Shawn Bates) made a great pass to Pecs, and he spotted me coming in and laid the puck on my stick.''
Kraft wristed a loose puck that popped out of a goal-mouth scramble past Snow to make it 4-3 at 11:25.
``I think the coaches were more nervous than the players,'' Peca said. ``We were playing solidly, and as long as we continued to play that way, we were going to win.''
|PPG - Mariusz Czerkawski (20) ASST: Roman Hamrlik (19), Clifford Ronning (3)|
1 - 0 NYI
|Tomas Surovy (10) ASST: Marc Bergevin (8)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Richard Jackman (4) ASST: Dick Tarnstrom (23), Milan Kraft (9)|
2 - 1 PIT
|PPG - Mariusz Czerkawski (21) ASST: Kenny Jonsson (15), Oleg Kvasha (26)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Roman Hamrlik (2) ASST: Michael Peca (22), Shawn Bates (20)|
3 - 2 NYI
|PPG - Kenny Jonsson (5) ASST: Adrian Aucoin (27), Jason Blake (19)|
4 - 2 NYI
|Milan Kraft (11) ASST: Tom Kostopoulos (7), Tomas Surovy (11)|
4 - 3 NYI
|Adrian Aucoin Hooking - Obstruction|
|Dick Tarnstrom Holding|
|Radek Martinek Interference - Obstruction|
|Aleksey Morozov Hooking - Obstruction|
|Roman Hamrlik Hi-sticking|
|Arron Asham Roughing|
|Arron Asham Fighting (maj)|
|Josef Melichar Boarding|
|Tom Kostopoulos Fighting (maj)|
|Tomas Surovy Hooking|
|Jason Blake Slashing|
|Eric Meloche Interference on goalkeeper|
|Clifford Ronning Tripping|
|Eric Meloche Interference|
|Mattias Weinhandl Interference on goalkeeper|
|Eric Meloche Interference|
|Richard Jackman Holding|
|Dick Tarnstrom Hooking|