Skip to Main Content

Sid's 51 tie for Rocket Trophy in Penguins' OT win

by Brian Compton
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs on a winning note.

Jordan Leopold scored with 34.4 seconds remaining as the Pens closed the 2009-10 regular season with a 6-5 overtime win against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Sunday.

Sidney Crosby scored twice for the Penguins (47-28-7) and will share the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, which is given to the NHL's top goal scorer. Crosby and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos each finished the season with 51 goals.

"We found a way at the end there," said Crosby, who finished the season with 109 points.

Pittsburgh scored three times in the first period, capped by Crosby's 50th goal of the season at 17:03. Crosby reached the 50-goal plateau for the first time in his career when he took a pass from Evgeni Malkin and ripped it from the left circle past Dwayne Roloson to give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead.

Malkin broke a scoreless tie just 3:09 into the game, when he slammed Alex Goligoski's rebound past Roloson for his 27th goal of the season. Eric Godard made it 2-0 just over three minutes later when he pounced on a loose puck in front of the net and swiped it past Roloson for his first goal since March 14, 2009.

John Tavares cut the deficit to 3-1 when he ripped a shot from the right circle past Brent Johnson with 44 seconds left in the first period.

"We gave them too much room in the first period," Isles coach Scott Gordon said. "The gap wasn't very good by the (defense) and the width of the rink was exposed."

Crosby notched his second goal of the day and seized control of the NHL's goal-scoring lead when he beat Roloson on a breakaway just 55 seconds into the second period that was set up by Maxime Talbot.

"It's nice … I put a lot of hard work in," Crosby said. "There're a lot of guys put in a hard work in to work on their shot or shoot more and things like that. Last summer and throughout the season, I've tried to focus on it. At the end of the day, you're doing it to help yourself and help the team to make everything better. This is a nice bonus, for sure."

Matt Moulson, who spent last season with the AHL's Manchester Monarchs and signed with the Isles as an unrestricted free agent last summer, scored his 30th goal of the season when he redirected Mark Streit's blast past Johnson at 1:55 of the second to make it 4-2.

"I can't say enough about the year he's had," Gordon said of Moulson, who will certainly receive a hefty raise this summer. "He came in here and wasn't even expected to be part of our lineup. I don't think any player has heeded whatever advice I have given than Matt Moulson. Every day in practice and every game he played he played like his last."

But Pittsburgh restored its three-goal lead via the power play when Malkin one-timed Crosby's feed past Roloson at 11:09 of the second. It was his second goal of the game and Crosby's fifth point as the Pens appeared to be in complete control with a 5-2 lead.

Not so fast.

Kyle Okposo cut it to 5-3 with 15:31 remaining when he tallied his 19th goal of the season. Okposo, a strong candidate to become the next Isles' captain, took a pass from Streit and fired a wrist shot from the right circle past Johnson. Jon Sim made it a one-goal game just 24 seconds later as he redirected Trent Hunter's turnaround shot from the left boards past Johnson.

Tavares completed the comeback at 15:47, when he redirected Freddy Meyer's wrister past Johnson to make it 5-5. Tavares, last year's top choice at the Entry Draft, finished his rookie season with 24 goals.

The Islanders finished the season with a record of 34-37-11. With the fifth fewest points in the League, they have an 8.1 percent chance of winning the draft lottery on Tuesday night.

"We grew up a lot over the past couple of years," Okposo said. "Next year we're looking to be a playoff team."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter at:

View More