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Aftermath: Penguins 4, Islanders 3 SO

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
Sid Tops New "Kid" | In-Game Blog | Guerin, Bylsma Return to Island |

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The Penguins have started a great trend their first two games by getting the first goal. Against the Islanders it was Sidney Crosby scoring on a breakaway in the first period, but for the second straight night the Penguins were unable to get the all-important second goal when Mark Streit tied the game, 1-1, for the Islanders.

Pittsburgh was forced to kill four straight power plays, and it caught up to them for a second time when John Tavares picked up a loose puck and scored his first National Hockey League goal at the 7:09 mark of the second period. While the Penguins trailed the hockey game, 2-1, at the end of 40 minutes, they laid the groundwork during the middle frame for their first come-from-behind victory in the third period.

The Penguins, who ended up outshooting the Islanders 42-28, continued their offensive barrage in the third period and the result was a tying goal by Mark Eaton at the 7:19 mark. Pittsburgh proved their mettle when Trent Hunter re-took the lead for the Islanders just 17 seconds later. The Penguins continued to dominate play and were rewarded when Ruslan Fedotenko tied the score, 3-3, by jamming home a loose puck with just 3:49 to play in regulation.

Neither Steve Tambellini nor Tavares could hit the net against Marc-Andre Fleury in the shootout, and the Penguins made the youthful Islanders pay. Kris Letang scored first and Sidney Crosby eliminated the chance for any suspense when he beat Roloson.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Sid the Kid took the storybook ending away from prized rookie John Tavares and the New York Islanders.

Sidney Crosby, who scored a goal in the first period, netted the deciding tally in the shootout and gave the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 victory on Saturday night.

Ruslan Fedotenko tied the game at 3-3 late in the third period. The Penguins would eventually win, 4-3, in a shootout
(photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Pucks On Net
Dwayne Roloson could have gotten into the heads of the Penguins when he continued to stop puck after puck, but the Penguins have proved many times over the past nine months that nothing can keep them down for long. They peppered Roloson with 14 shots in the second period and 18 in the third, and goals by Eaton and Fedotenko allowed the Penguins to erase two one-goal deficits.

What Could Have Gone Better: The Penalty Kill
Defending against a five-on-three power play is one of the hardest things to do in hockey, and the Penguins were unable to do so when Mark Streit scored midway through the first period. The Penguins later allowed rookie John Tavares to score during a penalty to Mark Eaton. On the night, the Penguins killed four of the six Islanders’ power plays a night after killing all four Ranger penalties.
Ruslan Fedotenko was caught with his head down by the Islanders Brendan Witt midway through the first period. Instead of backing down, Fedotenko responded by being one of the Penguins' top players in terms of both physicality and by scoring the tying goal late in the first period.

Fedotenko finished the evening with one goal and one assist, was a plus-two, and had four shots on goal. He constantly applied pressure to the puck in the offensive zone and his pass to Sidney Crosby on the Penguins’ first goal was put in a perfect position where Crosby could keep his speed moving forward towards the Islanders net with Brendan Witt in close pursuit.  
Pittsburgh scored first for the second consecutive night. Ruslan Fedotenko picked up a loose puck in the high slot of the Penguins’ end and fed Sidney Crosby streaking up the right side of the ice. Crosby used body leverage to keep distance from a charging Brendan Witt and deposited the puck between the legs of Dwayne Roloson. Pittsburgh 1, New York 0.

New York was given a golden opportunity when Jay McKee and Evgeni Malkin were both penalized, giving the Islanders a five-on-three advantage. Defenseman Mark Streit took a feed from Kyle Okposo and shot a slap shot along the ice past Marc-Andre Fleury to tie the score. Rookie John Tavares picked up his first NHL point on the play. Pittsburgh 1, New York 1.

Tavares gave the Islanders their first lead of the game when he put a backhander over Fleury’s shoulder. The play started with Trent Hunter throwing a puck towards the Penguins’ net. The puck bounced off of Matt Cooke and the Islanders Matt Moulson before Tavares picked up the loose change. New York 2, Pittsburgh 1.

Mark Eaton tied the score for the Penguins when his one-timer eluded Roloson at the 7:19 mark of the third period. The play was set up with Crosby winning the faceoff straight back to Kris Letang, who laid a perfect pass over to Eaton. Pittsburgh 2, New York 2.

Pittsburgh barely had time to soak in tying the score when the Islanders quickly went back ahead just 17 seconds after Eaton’s goal. Josh Bailey circled around the right wing corner in the Penguins’ end and found Trent Hunter standing wide open in the high slot. Hunter’s quick shot eluded Fleury. New York 3, Pittsburgh 2.

Just when it appeared the Penguins were going to suffer their first loss of the season, Ruslan Fedotenko picked up a loose puck just outside the right side of the Islanders’ crease and knocked the puck off the body of a diving Hunter into the net. The play began with Evgeni Malkin setting up Sergei Gonchar for a one-timer that hit traffic in front caused by Tyler Kennedy. Pittsburgh 3, New York 3.

Pittsburgh scored the only two goals during the shootout as both Letang and Crosby each used deft stickhandling moves to expose the five hole of Roloson. Steve Tambellini and Tavares missed the net for New York. Pittsburgh 4, New York 3.
The Penguins had to play over 17 minutes with just five defensemen from the 11:34 mark of the first period to the early portion of the second period while Jay McKee served time for instigating a fight with Witt, and the accompanying 10-minute misconduct. While the Penguins did allow a power-play goal to Mark Streit during this period, the extra minutes picked up by the other five defensemen during the second of back-to-back games did not come back to bite them later in the game.

Another factor that allowed the Penguins to remain fresh during the final 20 minutes was that the solid work performed by the Penguins’ fourth line of Mike Rupp, Craig Adams and Eric Godard allowed superstars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby to maintain their legs and do what superstars do at the end of games – put the opposition away when the opportunity presents itself.

Coach Dan Bylsma was rewarded for a lineup adjustment he made in the third period. Bylsma went back to his training camp lineup and moved Tyler Kennedy with Malkin and Fedotenko while Pascal Dupuis skated with Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke. The move paid dividends late in the game when Kennedy’s net presence on a point shot from Sergei Gonchar bounced around the crease area before Fedotenko put it into the back of the net to tie the game.

A play that might get lost in Crosby and Tavares both matching the pre-game hype offensively was the save Fleury made on Tavares at the 10:23 mark of the second period. Tavares had just given the Islanders their first lead 2:28 prior, and a goal there not only would have given the Islanders a two-goal advantage, it would have shot the roof off a building already buzzing each time Tavares made something happen.  
> Scoring Summary:
PIT, S. Crosby (2), 8:50 1st period: Penguins 1, Islanders 0
NYI, M. Streit PP (1), 12:40 1st period: Penguins 1, Islanders 1
NYI, J. Tavares PP (1), 7:09 2nd period: Islanders 2, Penguins 1
PIT, M.Eaton (1), 7:19 3rd period: Penguins 2, Islanders 2
NYI, T. Hunter (1), 7:36 3rd period: Islanders 3, Penguins 2
PIT, R. Fedotenko (1), 16:11 3rd period: Penguins 3, Islanders 3
SO, (K. Letang) (S. Crosby)

> Sidney Crosby’s assist on Mark Eaton’s goal was his 400th point in the NHL. Crosby has 134 goals and 266 assists in 292 games. Crosby is the sixth-fastest player to 400 points.

> The win improved the Penguins to 10-1-2 in their last 13 divisional games.

> Tonight’s game marked the first of 16 sets of back-to-back games in 2009-10. The Penguins are off to a good start with an early sweep.

> Kris Letang improved to 8-for-17 in shootouts during his career while Crosby is now 13-for-39.

> Pittsburgh has now gone to a shootout seven times against the Islanders since shootouts were implemented prior to the 2005-06 campaign, most against any one opponent. Pittsburgh improved to 2-5 all-time against the Islanders.

> The Penguins outshot the Islanders by an advantage of 36-18 over the last two periods and overtime after New York registered a 10-6 mark in the first period.

> Matt Cooke tied Sidney Crosby for the team lead with six shots on goal.
1. S.Crosby
2. J.Tavares
3. K.Letang
“It's not an easy week. We could have mailed it in
and said it's not our night. We put our nose
down, went to work as a groupd and
were able to scratch out two points.”
- Penguins coach Dan Bylsma


Author: Jason Seidling

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