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Aftermath: Penguins 6, NY Islanders 4

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins’ power play keyed Pittsburgh’s 6-4 victory over the New York Islanders at Mellon Arena. Playing in their first game at home since their five-game road trip, the Penguins power play struck for four scores, Malkin netted his fifth career hat trick and Crosby recorded his second career six-point game.

Pittsburgh built a 4-1 lead in the second period but the Islanders chipped away at the deficit and managed to pull even seven minutes into the final frame. That’s when the Penguins’ power play came up big for the club. With the score even at 4-4, Evgeni Malkin buried a one-timer on the man-advantage midway through the last period. Malkin added a third goal for his fifth career hat trick and Pittsburgh held on for the win.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Evgeni Malkin broke out of a slump with three goals and Sidney Crosby scored twice while figuring in every Pittsburgh goal as the Penguins recovered after blowing a three-goal lead to beat the Islanders 6-4 on Tuesday, ending New York's four-game winning streak.

Brent Johnson sprawls out to stop Kyle Okposo's penalty shot
(photo by Getty)
What Went Well: Special Teams
Pittsburgh scored four power-play goals and shut down the Islanders power play to finish a plus-4 in the special teams department. Evgeni Malkin (3) and Bill Guerin posted man-advantage goals and Pittsburgh’s PK units killed off all three New York power plays.

What Could Have Gone Better: Holding the Lead

The Penguins had a comfortable 4-1 lead after Sidney Crosby netted his 32nd goal of the season. The Islanders came right back 25 seconds later to make it a two-goal game. Slowly New York chipped away at the lead and evened the game at 4-4 seven minutes into the third period. But Pittsburgh stormed back to re-take the lead and win the game.
Sidney Crosby broke out in a big way for the Penguins. He notched six points against New York with two goals and four assists. It was Crosby’s second career six-point game (Dec. 13, 2006 at Philadelphia, 1G-5A), and with his two tallies Crosby pulled even for the NHL lead with 32 goals on the season.

Crosby figured in on all six Penguins’ goals. The Penguins captain was dominant in all facets of the game, from his offensive explosion, defensive effort and his 70-percent winning clip in the faceoff circle.

HONORABLE MENTION: Evgeni Malkin posted his fifth career hat trick. All three of his goals came on the power play, including the game-winner.
The Penguins got on the board first with a late first-period goal. Mark Eaton sent a slap shot towards the net from above the far circle. Goaltender Dwayne Roloson kicked out the rebound to Bill Guerin. Guerin made a slick pass to Sidney Crosby, who easily buried a shot into a wide-open net with 1:23 remaining in the first frame. Pittsburgh 1, New York 0.

The Penguins scored a 5-on-3 goal in the second period to add to their lead. Evgeni Malkin blasted a one-timer into the netting for the point. Pittsburgh 2, New York 0.

Pittsburgh struck again on the power play in the second period. Sergei Gonchar found Crosby streaking down the middle of the Islanders PK box. Crosby faked a shot and sent a hard backhand pass through two Islanders and right to Guerin to the side of the cage. Guerin snapped off a one-timer into the goal. Pittsburgh 3, New York 0.

New York got on the board when Andy Sutton’s slap shot from above the far circle sneaked into the top far corner of net behind goaltender Brent Johnson. Pittsburgh 3, New York 1.

The Penguins re-took their three-goal lead on Crosby’s second goal of the game. Kris Letang threw a shot towards the net. The puck hit Pascal Dupuis’ stick and slid to Crosby, who deposited the puck into the net. Pittsburgh 4, New York 1.

The Islanders struck back with a score 25 seconds after the Penguins’ fourth goal. Blake Comeau skated the puck around the back of the net and found Fred Meyer streaking down the far side. Meyer blasted a shot far side into the goal. Pittsburgh 4, New York 2.

New York scored in the opening minute of the third period to make it a one-goal game. A loose puck found the stick of Trent Hunter between the circles. Hunter snapped a shot into the cage. Pittsburgh 4, New York 3.

New York tied the game with 12:49 to play in the third period. Doug Weight’s shot hit off the near post and slid free into the crease. Richard Park tapped the loose puck over the goal line to even the game. Pittsburgh 4, New York 4.

Crosby gained the zone and flipped a pass to Alex Goligoski during a Pittsburgh power play. The young blueliner found Malkin in the near circle. Malkin smashed a one-timer into the goal to regain the lead for the Penguins. Pittsburgh 5, New York 4.

Malkin finished off the game by tallying his fifth career hat trick. The Russian forward collected a pass in the neutral zone and slid the puck into an empty-net for his third power-play goal of the game. Pittsburgh 6, New York 4.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik and goaltender Brent Johnson both returned to the lineup for the Penguins, while assistant coach Mike Yeo was back behind the bench after an eight-game absence. Orpik missed the team’s last four games with an undisclosed injury, while Johnson has been sidelined since suffering a lower-body injury Jan. 13.

Brent Johnson made three of the best saves of the season all within a 1:17 minute span, all on breakaways and all against the dangerous Kyle Okposo. During a Pittsburgh power play, the Islanders forward stole the puck at the New York blue line and streaked in alone on Johnson. The Penguins netminder sprawled out and got his pad on the puck. Just over a minute later, Okposo had another shorthanded breakaway but Johnson got his body on the puck for the save. Okposo was awarded a penalty shot on the play. He juked and tried to stuff the puck in on his forehand but Johnson stretched out to get his left pad on the puck.

An ugly incident occurred in the final minutes of the third period. Pascal Dupuis was trying to play the puck behind the net when Andy Sutton hit Dupuis from behind and smashed the Pittsburgh forward’s face into the boards. Luckily, Dupuis was able to get to his feet, with a towel covering his face, and skate to the dressing room. Sutton received a five-minute major for boarding. There was no immediate update on his condition following the game.
> Pittsburgh improved to 31-19-1 on the season with a 15-8-1 mark at Mellon Arena.
> Scoring Summary:
PIT, S.Crosby (31), 18:37 1st period: Penguins 1, Islanders 0
PIT, E.Malkin PP (15), 3:40 2nd period: Penguins 2, Islanders 0
PIT, B.Guerin PP (16), 7:01 2nd period: Penguins 3, Islanders 0
NYI, A.Sutton (4), 11:45 2nd period: Penguins 3, Islanders 1
PIT, S.Crosby (32), 13:02 2nd period: Penguins 4, Islanders 1
NYI, F.Meyer (1), 13:27 2nd period: Penguins 4, Islanders 2
NYI, T.Hunter (9), 0:48 3rd period: Penguins 4, Islanders 3
NYI, R.Park (4), 7:11 3rd period: Penguins 4, Islanders 4
PIT, E.Malkin PP (16), 11:09 3rd period: Penguins 5, Islanders 4
PIT, E.Malkin PP (17), 19:30 3rd period: Penguins 6, Islanders 4

> The Penguins are now 49-22-5 in the regular season since head coach Dan Bylsma took over. They have a record of 25-9-2 at Mellon Arena.

> The Penguins scored four power-play goals in a game for the first time this season.

> Some numbers under Bylsma, the Penguins are: 33-6-2 when netting a game’s first goal; 32-1 when scoring four or more goals; 30-3-1 when leading after two periods.

> Sidney Crosby notched six points with two goals and four assists, tying his career high (Dec. 13 at Philadelphia, 1G-5A). He also won 70 percent of his faceoffs. He now has 14 points (8G-6A) in his last seven games.

> Evgeni Malkin scored three power-play goals in the contest, including the game-winner, to notch his fifth career hat trick. Malkin has four goals in his past two games.

> Bill Guerin notched a power-play goal and added an assist for a two-point night.

> Sergei Gonchar posted two assists against New York.
1. S.Crosby
2. E.Malkin
"You run into those games every so often during the year and you really can’t let up. ... It was a shootout and it wasn’t easy for the goalies."
- Sidney Crosby


Author: Sam Kasan

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