Revenge was sweet for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
One week after the New York Islanders came to Consol Energy Center and stifled the Penguins in a 4-1 win, Pittsburgh returned the favor by coming to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and defeating New York 4-2 on Tuesday night.
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who was pulled in last week's loss after allowing four goals in two periods, looked sharp in making 32 saves. The Islanders got their goals 35 seconds apart early in the third period; Michael Grabner tapped in a feed from Kyle Okposo at 3:14 and Brad Boyes slid home a backhander at 3:49.
But by then, the Penguins owned a 3-0 lead; Brandon Sutter scored on a 2-on-1 break 90 seconds before Grabner's goal to give Pittsburgh its three-goal margin.
After the Islanders' quick flurry, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma called his timeout to calm things down.
"I definitely just wanted to refocus and I don’t know if relax is the right word, but they started coming with a lot of speed there and they got two quick goals," Bylsma said. "Just wanted to take a second, take a look at the clock. Just wanted to get refocused back on playing the way we needed to play, regardless of the fact that they got two quick ones there. I thought our guys did a great job of that. We were faced with another kill there in that period of time and we had to come up big with that kill, which I thought was huge."
Fleury said, "Nobody panicked. Everybody stayed calm, stuck with it. We got a big [penalty] kill after that and didn’t give too much."
The Penguins limited the Islanders' chances before Pascal Dupuis added an empty-netter with 39 seconds left as Pittsburgh won its fourth in a row and improved to 7-3-0 after 10 games.
"That's a good road win for us," Sutter said. "Showed a lot of character, and I think we did a really good job of being aggressive on them and it worked out."
Sidney Crosby left the game briefly in the second period after he was struck in the face by the puck. He returned after missing a couple of shifts and wound up playing 16:09.
He joked about after the game, saying to reporters with a smile, "Sorry guys, am I still gushing? I can't tell. It's not a very comfortable situation to be in."
The Islanders' special teams were the biggest reason for their 4-2-1 start, but they've come up empty in back-to-back losses to the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh. The power play was 0-for-7 for the second straight game. New York hadn't been 0-for-7 on power plays in consecutive games since March 28-30, 2003.
"We have to get shots on the net," Islanders captain Mark Streit said. "We need to get to the rebounds first. I think we can improve. We had a lot of chances and Fleury made some really good saves -- you have to give him credit -- but at the end of the day, we have to score on the power play. We have five great players on the ice and need to be better."
The penalty killers also allowed an early goal, by James Neal 2:58 into the game. The Islanders won the draw after Marty Reasoner was called for holding, but Crosby cut off Travis Hamonic's attempted clear along the left half-wall and zipped a pass to Neal in the slot. Neal spun and snapped a shot past Evgeni Nabokov for his sixth of the season.
The Islanders dominated play for the rest of the period, outshooting the Penguins 12-6 in the first 20 minutes. But Pittsburgh killed off two power plays in the opening 20 minutes and four more in the second period before Simon Despres' goal at the 16-minute mark made it 2-0.
Sutter's stoppable shot from near the left faceoff dot got past Nabokov, who made 22 saves, before Grabner's goal ended the Islanders' scoreless streak at 103 minutes, 14 seconds.
"We came back and got into the game," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "I'm happy with the energy and the work ethic our guys showed tonight. We put up 30-plus shots tonight against a good hockey team. It's not good enough, I realize that. But at the end of the day, we worked pretty hard and had some energy 5-on-5."
Material from team media was used in this report
|PPG - James Neal (6) ASST: Sidney Crosby (10)|
1 - 0 PIT
|Simon Despres (2) ASST: Chris Kunitz (6), Kris Letang (6)|
2 - 0 PIT
|Brandon Sutter (2) ASST: Matt Cooke (2)|
3 - 0 PIT
|Michael Grabner (5) ASST: Kyle Okposo (3), Frans Nielsen (8)|
3 - 1 PIT
|Brad Boyes (3) ASST: Matt Moulson (5), Brian Strait (1)|
3 - 2 PIT
|EN - Pascal Dupuis (3) ASST: Paul Martin (4)|
4 - 2 PIT
|Marty Reasoner Holding against Craig Adams|
|Craig Adams Interference against Kyle Okposo|
|Simon Despres Tripping against Casey Cizikas|
|Matt Martin Fighting (maj) against Tanner Glass|
|Tanner Glass Fighting (maj) against Matt Martin|
|James Neal Roughing against Travis Hamonic|
|Travis Hamonic Interference against Tyler Kennedy|
|Simon Despres Interference against Brad Boyes|
|Chris Kunitz Tripping against Travis Hamonic|
|James Neal Hooking against Matt Martin|
|Brian Strait Holding the stick against Brandon Sutter|
|Chris Kunitz Interference against Andrew MacDonald|