Life without captain Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin continues for the Penguins, but the wins keep coming.
For the second time in as many games Pittsburgh managed to end up in the winning column without their two superstars, earning a tenacious 1-0 win over Atlantic division rival New York Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Penguins turned to their All-Star goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury, who shouldered the load and led his team to victory. Fleury stopped 29 shots for his second shutout of the season and 18th of his career.
Pittsburgh tilted the ice time in its favor as the Islanders were under heavy pressure the entire game. However, New York goalie Kevin Poulin was also solid in net in the goaltenders’ duel.
The Penguins' hard work and constant attack finally broke through halfway through the third period when Craig Adams became the unlikely hero. Adams found a loose puck in the slot and tallied the game-winning score for his first even-strength goal as a Pen.
Pittsburgh is now 2-1 without Crosby and Malkin, but rode two wins for a strong finish riding into the All-Star break.
Marc-Andre Fleury was the best player on the ice for either team, turning aside all 29 shots for his 18th career shutout. Like most nights recently, Fleury was definitely the star of this game.
But I want to give a little love to Craig Adams. The fourth liner for the Penguins scored his first-career even-strength goal with Pittsburgh halfway through the third period, and it proved to be the game-winner.
Other than breaking through for his goal, Adams played his usual game for the Penguins: meaning he was responsible defensively, used his body to be physical and spearheaded Pittsburgh's penalty kill – which successfully killed both Islanders' power plays.
Adams finished the game with the game-winning goal, a plus-1 rating, 10:21 minutes of ice time, two shots, three hits and went 2-0 in faceoffs.
It’s not too difficult to pinpoint the turning point in a 1-0 game.
Both teams remained scoreless with just over 11 minutes remaining in the third period. Up to that point both goaltenders had been spectacular for their respective teams, and the game seemed destined for overtime. That all changed at the 8:35 mark.
Dustin Jeffrey won a key faceoff in the offensive zone. On the ensuing possession Ben Lovejoy ripped a slapshot on net that Kevin Poulin saved. The rebound found its way into the slot, where Craig Adams was able to steer it into the net for the score.
(AP) - Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves for his second shutout of the season, Craig Adams scored in the third period and the Pittsburgh Penguins won again without their superstar duo of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, 1-0 over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Fleury's 18th career shutout was the second this season in which Pittsburgh scored only once. The Penguins have won two consecutive and five of six - all without Crosby (concussion), and the most recent three without fellow former scoring champion Malkin (knee, sinus infection).
• The Penguins and Islanders contest opened with a bang, literally. Just 26 seconds after the puck dropped, so did the gloves. Tyler Kennedy and Travis Hamonic fought near the blue line. Kennedy landed several blows and knocked Hamonic to his knees. Then 1:27 later, Arron Asham and Zenon Konopka battled in the Islanders zone. Both players landed some heavy shots, but in the end Asham pulled the jersey over Konopka’s head before delivering some parting blows.
• The Penguins are 22-5-1 when scoring the first goal this season, while the Islanders drop to 4-23-4 when allowing the game’s opening score.
• Pittsburgh is 17-4-2 against the Islanders since the 2007-08 season, including an 11-1 mark at home. New York hasn’t won in Pittsburgh since Dec. 21, 2007 at Mellon Arena. The Penguins are 16-2-2 at home against the Islanders since the lockout.
#1. Marc-Andre Fleury
Goaltender - 29
18th career shutout
#2. Kevin Poulin
Goaltender - 60
#3. Craig Adams
Center - 27
Author: Sam Kasan