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game recap

Kessel's four points power Penguins past Islanders

Crosby gets goal, two assists, Pittsburgh wins second straight

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

Kessel's second goal of the game

NYI@PIT: Kessel, Crosby combine for another goal

Sidney Crosby slides a cross-crease pass to Phil Kessel, who scores his second goal of the 2nd period to extend the Penguins' lead

  • 01:01 •

PITTSBURGH -- Phil Kessel had four points, and Sidney Crosby had three in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 6-2 win against the New York Islanders at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday.

Kessel had two goals and two assists, ending his seven-game goal drought. Crosby had a goal and two assists, and has 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in his past 11 games.

"I thought we did a good job in not beating ourselves, for the most part," said Crosby, the Penguins captain. "Found a way to keep our speed through the neutral zone and be on the forecheck. When we do that, we get our chances eventually. So I think we played a smart game. That's what it really came down to."


[WATCH: All Islanders vs. Penguins highlights]


Kris Letang scored twice, Riley Sheahan scored, and Casey DeSmith made 19 saves for Pittsburgh (12-10-5), which has won two straight games after losing its previous two. 

Brock Nelson and Anders Lee scored for New York (13-11-3), which is 1-3-1 in its past five games. Thomas Greiss made 16 saves on 21 shots, and Christopher Gibson made six saves on seven shots after replacing Greiss to start the third period.

"It was too friendly of a game," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "There wasn't enough skin invested in the game, right across the board. We need a couple saves. Some [defensemen] could play a little bit better. Some of our forwards who are a little more physical could be more assertive in that area, and our skill guys are going to have to produce. No one was immune today."

Letang has seven goals in 26 games this season after scoring nine in 79 games last season and five in 41 games in 2016-17. He gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at 8:34 of the first period by one-timing a slap shot.

Video: NYI@PIT: Letang goes top shelf on Greiss

Nelson scored shorthanded on a backhand through DeSmith's five-hole to tie it 1-1 at 17:43. It was the eighth shorthanded goal the Penguins have allowed this season and the third in three games.

Letang scored again with 29 seconds left in the first, putting Pittsburgh ahead 2-1 with a slap shot.

Sheahan extended the lead to 3-1 at 7:21 of the second period. Evgeni Malkin shot off Greiss before Sheahan batted the rebound in for his third goal in five games.

Video: NYI@PIT: Sheahan displays his hand-eye coordination

Kessel made it 4-1 with a power-play goal at 12:09 of the second by one-timing a pass from Crosby. He tapped in a cross-crease pass from Crosby to extend the lead to 5-1 with 2:23 remaining in the second.

Crosby assisted on the goals by Kessel, who credited him for his performance.

Video: NYI@PIT: Kessel caps rapid passing play for PPG

"I got a couple tap-ins from Sid. It's nice to get those, right?" Kessel said. "You watch him out there. He's special. The things he does, his goal tonight, look at that goal. It's impressive."

Lee backhanded a shot over DeSmith's glove to cut it to 5-2 at 4:23 of the third, extending his goal streak to four games, before Crosby scored from a sharp angle along the right side at 13:00 of the third for the 6-2 final.


They said it

"It definitely wasn't the standard that we needed, and that we needed to come to play with. So it's on us. We talked about how we played a pretty good game against [the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday] and didn't get the result. We thought we deserved better. But tonight, we didn't play to that level. It's frustrating, for sure. So we have to get back to that, raise our battle." -- Islanders forward Brock Nelson


"I think we're cutting down, not only the quantity of the chances but the quality as well on most nights. I mean, we have our hiccups. So I'm not going to sit here and say every night has been the same, but certainly, I think we're trending in the right direction in that regard." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan


Need to know

Islanders goalie Robin Lehner skated Thursday morning with an undisclosed injury but was not available to back up Greiss. ... New York scored two or fewer goals for the fourth time in its past five games. ... Penguins forward Dominik Simon, who is day to day, did not play because of a lower-body injury sustained in a 6-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. Bryan Rust started in Simon's spot on the first line, at right wing with Crosby at center and Jake Guentzel at left wing, before Kessel took over there in the second period. ... Pittsburgh forward Patric Hornqvist did not return for the second period with an undisclosed injury. Sullivan did not provide an update. Hornqvist played the previous two games after missing three games from Nov. 24-28 with a concussion.


What's next

Islanders: At the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-D, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Penguins: At the Ottawa Senators on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN360, CITY, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

Video: Letang, Kessel score twice in Penguins' 6-2 win

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