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Islanders 5, Penguins 4, SO @NHLdotcom

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Miroslav Satan notched his seventh career hat trick and added the decisive shootout goal.

He was still overshadowed by his goaltender.

Rick DiPietro made 40 saves, including 20 in the third period and overtime, then stopped both shootout attempts he faced to lift the New York Islanders to a 5-4 victory Saturday over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"It was a tremendous effort by Rick," Islanders coach Brad Shaw said. "He was unbelievable."

"He stole the game," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said.

DiPietro, who will be a member of the U.S. Olympic team in Turin, made dazzling stops on a Tomas Surovy breakaway early in the third period and on Ric Jackman's point-blank attempt in overtime. He also gloved Mark Recchi's try in the shootout and got the knob of his goal stick on Michel Ouellet's try for the top right corner to end the game.

"Pittsburgh really came at us hard, had us scrambling there," DiPietro said. "They crowded the net, too. There were a lot of shots I didn't see."

Satan scored three power-play goals in regulation to boost his team-best total to 23, then beat Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury again in the shootout. Only this time, he used a different approach.

On Jan. 26 in Uniondale, N.Y., Satan scored the lone shootout goal in a 4-3 Islanders victory by snapping a forehand shot past Fleury. On Saturday, he made several stickhandling moves and head fakes before slipping a low backhander behind the goalie.

"My idea was that Fleury was going to expect I would do the same thing as last time," Satan said. "I think that helped me out."

Satan, signed by the Islanders as a free agent after seven-plus seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, has six goals in his past seven games after having one in his previous 11. He is on pace for his first 40-goal season since 1998-99.

Trent Hunter, New York's only other shootout participant, also was successful on his backhand attempt before DiPietro finished off the victory.

New York improved to 6-4-1 since Shaw, the interim coach, replaced Steve Stirling and has won four of five to pull closer to the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Islanders (24-26-3) have 51 points, and the team in the eighth and final playoff spot entering Saturday was the Toronto Maple Leafs with 55.

"Who would have thought?" DiPietro said. "Everyone had us written off for dead two weeks ago."

Pittsburgh (12-32-11) is 1-13-2 in its past 16 games, but Therrien praised his team's effort in mounting a 44-29 edge in shots.

"We worked hard. We were aggressive," Therrien said. "I really liked the way we played."

He was not nearly as complimentary of Fleury, who is 6-19-3 and continued to falter in tight situations.

"It was not his best game," Therrien said.

Satan's three goals spotted New York a 3-1 lead, but Pittsburgh rallied to tie on power-play rebound goals by Surovy at 18:36 of the second period and Recchi at 5:26 of the third.

Chris Campoli put the Islanders back ahead at 12:56 of the third on a wrist shot. Jackman tied it again at 16:29 on a one-timer from the point.

Campoli's goal was the only one in regulation not scored on the power play, no surprise considering the Islanders rank 29th in penalty-killing and the Penguins 30th in the 30-team NHL.

Sidney Crosby, the Penguins' star rookie, returned after missing a game Thursday to the flu and scored his team-best 26th goal in the first period.

"We were carrying the play toward the end of the game," Crosby said. "Next thing you know, we're in a shootout. We just ran out of time."

Notes: About 500 people attended a "Save our Pens" rally outside Mellon Arena two hours before faceoff. Several politicians and Penguins employees spoke in favor of the team's plan to use a gambling license to fund a new arena. ... New York defenseman Alexei Zhitnik (ankle) missed a second consecutive game. ... Most in the crowd of 16,362 participated in the Penguins' "Black and Gold Day" by wearing Steelers attire and waving Terrible Towels the day before the Super Bowl.

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