The New York Islanders used a trap-style defense against Pittsburgh on Wednesday in an effort to stifle an offense led by Sidney Crosby, trying to keep the Penguins on the perimeter and from getting shots on goaltender Rick DiPietro.
The Islanders were successful in that endeavor, as they held Crosby pointless and halted his impressive streak at 25 games en route to topping the Penguins in a shootout, 2-1.
After a scoreless first period where the momentum had yet to swing in a specific direction, the Islanders got on the scoreboard just 34 seconds into the second frame with a goal from Josh Bailey. But the Penguins scored off a tally from Chris Conner with just 3:47 remaining in the period to tie the game, 1-1.
Pittsburgh’s third line of Conner, Mark Letestu and Tyler Kennedy wasn’t fazed by the trap-style defense of the Islanders. Their speed and puck-possession style of play was a bright spot for the Penguins in a low-scoring game.
The Penguins had two big opportunities to get the lead, first when Kris Letang got a penalty shot with 7:01 remaining in the third, and again when they got a power play opportunity with 1:14 remaining in overtime. But luck was just not in Pittsburgh’s favor Wednesday night, as P.A. Parenteau gave the Islanders the win with his game-deciding shootout tally.
Tyler Kennedy was solid in all facets against the Islanders on Thursday. The feisty winger finished the night tied for the team lead with five shots through 11:04 of ice time and was one of three Penguins to finish with a plus-1 rating, as he started the play that resulted in Pittsburgh’s lone tally.
With the Islanders up 1-0, Kennedy used his speed to carry the puck down the boards and barreled past the Islanders defense to rip a shot on net. DiPietro made the initial save but bobbled the rebound, which landed in the crease for Chris Conner to stuff into the net.
The goal, scored with 3:27 remaining in the second, gave the Penguins some life against a stifling Islanders squad. And Kennedy almost netted one of his own with 9:28 left in the third. DiPietro went to make a clearing pass to a teammate from the side of his net, but the puck bounced off his stick funny and landed directly on Kennedy’s tape. Kennedy just missed the wide-open net.
The helper on Conner's goal gives Kennedy 13 points (6G-7A) in 19 career-games played against the Islanders, the highest total he’s scored against any one team since entering the league in 2007. Kennedy scored his first-ever NHL goal against the Islanders on Nov. 3, 2007, but had to wait to have it confirmed by video replay.
The Penguins got a power play opportunity with 1:14 remaining in the five-minute overtime period, as the Islanders were given a bench minor for having too many men on the ice. In the NHL, teams skate 4-on-4 during overtime to open up the ice and give players more space to move the puck. So getting the chance to go 4-on-3 seemed to be the opening that Pittsburgh needed to close the game out.
Head coach Dan Byslma elected to go with Malkin, Crosby, Letang and Goligoski as his four skaters for the majority of the power play. They closed in on DiPietro, firing shot after quality shot at the Islanders netminder, but the Penguins just couldn’t find the back of the net to put the game away like they did the last time the two teams faced off on Oct. 18.
They were forced to head to the shootout, where the Penguins couldn’t answer P.A. Parenteau’s game-deciding goal.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Sidney Crosby's 25-game point streak was snapped by the New York Islanders and goalie Rick DiPietro, who stopped the Pittsburgh captain and the rest of the Penguins' high-powered offense in a 2-1 shootout victory Wednesday night.
Crosby had at least a point in every game since Nov. 3 at Dallas. The run, in which Crosby produced 26 goals and 24 assists, was the longest in the NHL since Quebec's Mats Sundin had a 30-game streak during the 1992-93 season.
Crosby also had scored a goal in five consecutive games before being shut down by the Islanders, the team he has victimized the most with 62 points in 33 career games.
Crosby was denied on Pittsburgh's second shootout attempt when DiPietro blocked a shot with his pad.
• Sidney Crosby came within inches of extending his point streak to 26 games with 2:36 left in the third. Kennedy sent the Penguins captain a pretty cross-ice pass as the two players streaked down the ice for a 2-on-1 opportunity, but Crosby’s shot ripped off the crossbar.
• Wednesday marked the first game since Nov. 3 that Crosby hadn't recorded at least one point. His impressive 25-game streak, the NHL's longest stretch in 18 years since Mats Sundin's 30-game run in 1992-93, ended with 26 goals and 24 assists.
• History has repeated itself so far this season for the Penguins and the Islanders, as the two teams battled past regulation in their last meeting on Oct. 18. Alex Goligoski netted the game-winning goal in overtime for Pittsburgh in that game, which gave the Penguins a 3-2 win.
• The Penguins’ record in overtime this season is now 5-2, with a 3-1 shootout mark. The Penguins performed well in Wednesday's shootout, as both Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin scored on their attempts for Pittsburgh. They’re now 11-3 overall in shootouts over the past two seasons.
• Letang redeemed himself on the shootout after missing his first-career penalty shot with 7:01 left in the third period. After DiPietro made a big save on Maxime Talbot, the puck squirted loose into the crease and a pile-up ensued, with an Islanders player gloving the puck in the crease to give the Penguins the automatic penalty shot. It had to be someone on the ice, so Bylsma chose Letang out of Talbot, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis and Brooks Orpik. Letang appeared to have DiPietro beat, but his backhander sailed high and wide over the net.
• The Penguins killed off all three Islanders power play opportunities, including two within the first five minutes of the third period.