|Playing in only his second NHL game this season, Blake Comeau scored the tie-breaking goal in the New York Islanders 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Crosby was limited to a second-period assist on Jordan Staal’s goal that gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead. But Comeau got his first NHL point when he assisted on Andy Hilbert’s tying goal, then scored the tie-breaking goal midway through the third period as the Islanders stunned the Penguins 4-2 at Mellon Arena.
Comeau, playing only his second NHL game this season and the fifth of his career, took Hilbert’s pass in the left circle and beat Dany Sabourin inside the far post to put the Islanders ahead 3-2 ( 700K ).
''Andy did a great job of getting me the puck,'' said Comeau, a 21-year-old who got the chance to play after Chris Simon was suspended for 30 games earlier in the week. ''When I looked to the net, I heard guys yelling 'Shoot.' There were bodies there and the lane was open. So I put my head down and tried to put it on net as hard as I could and it ended up going in.''
Trent Hunter added a goal 37 seconds later ( 700K ) as the Islanders reached the four-goal mark for the first time in 23 games.
"It's been a long time since we had a cushion like that," coach Ted Nolan said of the two-goal lead. "It was nice to have that lead and be conformable on the bench. It was great to see Andy and Comeau get big goals for us. It doesn't matter where they come from."
The Isles, who had scored just two first-period goals in their previous 10 games, got one 44 seconds after the puck dropped when Miroslav Satan hammered Josef Vasicek’s pass behind Sabourin from the left circle ( 700K ). Eric Christensen tied it at 18:50 by jamming in Gary Roberts’ rebound ( 700K ).
Crosby had put up at least two points in each of his previous eight games against the Islanders. But the Isles did an excellent job of limiting Crosby’s time and space. His only point came when he carried the puck into the New York zone during a power play early in the second period. Andy Sutton knocked him off the puck, but whiffed on a clear and knocked over his own goaltender, Rick DiPietro, leaving Staal alone for an easy shot into an empty net at 4:20 ( 700K ).
But that was the Penguins’ lone power-play goal in six chances. They are 2-for-25 in their last five games.
''We have the skill to make some plays and make some passes (on the power play), but we have to move the puck better. We have to be better,'' Crosby said. ''It's easy to talk about, correct this and correct that, but we've got to find a way.''
Comeau started the play that led to the tying goal when he fed Tim Jackman for a break out of the Isles’ zone. Jackman carried into the Pittsburgh zone and fed Hilbert, who ripped a wrist shot past Dany Sabourin at 8:42 ( 700K ).
Each team had a chance to take the lead during a four-minute power play. However, the Islanders killed off Sean Bergenheim’s double minor late in the second period and the Penguins did the same when Tyler Kennedy accidentally high-sticked Chris Campoli early in the third.
Comeau broke the tie when he took Hilbert’s pass in the left circle and fired a wrist shot through a screen that caught the far corner at 10:28. With the Penguins reeling, Hunter made it a two-goal game at 11:05 when he beat Sabourin with a wrist shot from the low slot.
Hilbert also had two points in his first game after being dropped to the fourth line. He entered the game with just two goals and three assists all season.
''Obviously, no one likes to be put on the fourth line, but with the fourth line we have it's really not a fourth line,'' said Hilbert, who played for Pittsburgh two seasons ago. ''I think our whole team played well. It was a huge win and all four lines played a part.''
Material from wire services and team media were used in this report.