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Aftermath: Penguins 9, Islanders 2

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
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Sidney Crosby | Petr Sykora | Pascal Dupuis | John Curry | Michel Therrien
Pittsburgh was on a three-game losing streak entering its game against the Islanders. The Penguins took all their frustrations out on New York in a dominating performance in a 9-2 win. Pittsburgh was relentless in its efforts, not even letting up when they were ahead 8-1 in the third period. The game was almost painful to watch because it was so one-sided.

The Penguins showed what a marvelous show they can put on when they’re playing at their best. All of Pittsburgh’s lines played with balance and the team had contributions from players other than Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Petr Sykora and Pascal Dupuis both recorded their first career hat tricks, while Miroslav Satan and Philippe Boucher also notched scores.

This is the type of game Pittsburgh can put on when its playing at a high level. It was also exactly the type of game the Penguins needed to end the losing streak and to help build some momentum. Pittsburgh got all the bounces and cashed in on those opportunities. Now the Penguins will have to build on this game and keep it going.
(AP) Petr Sykora ended the longest streak in NHL history without a hat trick by a player who had at least two goals in a game, scoring three times to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins' 9-2 rout of the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Pascal Dupuis also had his first career three-goal game, Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, and Sidney Crosby set up three goals in Pittsburgh's first nine-goal game since beating the Flyers 9-4 on Feb. 7, 2001. Pittsburgh had lost its previous three. The Islanders dropped their season-high fifth in a row and allowed nine goals for the first time since Dec. 19, 2005 against Toronto.

Sykora previously had 38 games with two goals without getting a third, far surpassing the 28 games by Hall of Fame defenseman Larry Murphy, who played for the Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

It was the seventh time in Penguins history that two players had hat tricks in a game and the first since Mario Lemieux and Joey Mullen accomplished it April 9, 1993, against the Rangers.

Petr Sykora is showered with hat after recording his first career hat trick (photo by Getty)
What Worked: Everything
Very little went wrong for the Penguins in their 9-2 victory over the Islanders. The power play netted three goals and Petr Sykora and Pascal Dupuis each registered their first career hat trick. Pittsburgh completely dominated the game from start to finish. They pressured; they beat New York to loose pucks; they skated hard; they created a ton of scoring chances; and they finished those chances.

What Didn't Work: Nothing
9-2 final. Enough said. 
Petr Sykora ended his unenviable distinction of recording the most two-goal games without registering a hat trick in NHL history. Sykora finally broke through and scored three in one game. All three scores came off of one-timers, two of which occurred on the power play. Sykora was in the zone and it seemed inevitable that he would get over the hump. The hat trick goal occurred in the second period with the Penguins on a power play. He was in the slot when Sidney Crosby sent him a centering feed that Sykora buried into the net. He excitedly screamed and leaped into Crosby’s arms. Sykora also had an assist in the game for a four-point night.

HONORABLE MENTION: Pascal Dupuis, who also recorded his first career hat trick. After he scored his second goal of the game, Dupuis took a grillion shots on goal. He finished the game with six shots, but that sixth attempt did cross the goal line for the trick. Dupuis made a great breakaway move on the play. He faked a shot, dropping the goalie to his knees, and then Dupuis went backhand and roofed it.
Pittsburgh dominated the first period. It scored four goals and outshot the Islanders by a 19-5 margin. The Penguins controlled the play and spent nearly the entire frame in the New York zone. The Islanders looked confused at times on the ice and couldn’t match the Penguins intensity and level of play. The only blemish was an Islanders’ power-play goal. But that short-handed stretch was the only time New York mounted any pressure.

The Penguins got on the board first with Pascal Dupuis’ first goal of the game. Miroslav Satan sent a hard board-to-board pass in the neutral zone to Dupuis. The winger skated to the top of the far circle and ripped a hard slap shot towards the net. Islanders goalkeeper Joey MacDonald got a piece of the shot with his left arm but the puck fell to the ice and trickled into the goal.

Satan scored his first goal against his former team on a five-on-three advantage for Pittsburgh. Thanks to three overlapping Islanders penalties, the Penguins had 1:43 straight minutes with a two-man advantage. Matt Cooke was positioned in front of the net. Sidney Crosby and Satan were at the low posts. Crosby made a centering pass and Cooke tipped the puck over to Satan. The Slovak native pulled the puck from the side and dished it forehand-backhand into the net.

The Islanders got on the board thanks to a Mark Streit power-play goal. Doug Weight was at the midpoint quarterbacking the power-play. He setup a one-timer for Streit atop the far circle. Streit blew the puck behind Penguins goalie John Curry, who was making his first home start, to make it a 2-1 game.

The Penguins answered with a score 11 seconds following the New York goal. Evgeni Malkin skated into the zone and passed to Petr Sykora above the near circle. Sykora one-timed the puck for his eighth goal of the season.

Pittsburgh scored its fourth goal of the period with 1:41 left on an innocent looking play. Crosby sent a pass to Philippe Boucher at the point. The Penguins defenseman - who was playing in his first game in nearly two weeks - threw a slap shot on net. The puck eluded MacDonald through his five-hole.

The Islanders benched MacDonald at the start the second period. Yann Danis came in to replace him.

The Penguins goal-scoring tear continued when Malkin buried his 12th goal of the season. Malkin skated into the zone and dropped the puck to Alex Goligoski. The Penguins rookie defenseman took a hard shot on the net. Danis gave up a rebound to the left of the goal. The puck was heading behind the net when Malkin sent a perfect shot into the goal from an awkward angle.

Pittsburgh added another power-play goal at 7:53 of the second period on Sykora’s second goal of the game and seventh power-play goal of the year. Sykora was the designated player to serve a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty on Pittsburgh. The Islanders took a subsequent penalty during that time so when Sykora stepped back on the ice the Penguins were on a power play. Max Talbot entered the zone and dropped to Goligoski. Goligoski sent a centering feed to Sykora in the slot. The Czech native one-timed the puck through the legs of Danis.

It looked like Sykora had finally broken through and recorded his first career hat trick, only to have the referee waive off the apparent goal. Sykora hacked at a puck under Danis’ pads and into the net. However, the referee had blown the play dead and waived off Sykora’s hat trick. Although, he admitted that goal would have been Ruslan Fedotenko's.

The Hockey Gods taketh away and they giveth. Sykora FINALLY notched his first career hat trick with his second power-play goal of the game at 15:42. Sykora was waiting in the slot. Crosby skated down the right side and sent a centering pass to Sykora, who blew the puck into the netting for that third goal. Sykora let out a yell and jumped into Crosby's arms. The Penguins fans covered the ice with hats and everything was right with the world.

Crosby hit his second post of the game, and third in two games, late in the second period on a power play. Crosby grabbed a turnover in the Islanders zone and started the play with a nifty spinning backhand pass. He then nailed a one-timer off the side of the cage.

Dupuis got his second score thanks to a great effort by Jordan Staal. Staal skated into the zone and around two Islanders before sending a perfect sweeping pass to the slot that Dupuis one-timed into the open cage.

The Penguins were relentless in the third period. They continued to apply pressure on the Islanders goal and never stopped skating hard. Penguins head coach Michel Therrien gave Dupuis a chance to get a hat trick when he sent him out on a Pittsburgh power play. He missed the net off of a great setup from Malkin. Then Crosby tried to get him that third goal with a centering pass that Dupuis couldn’t quite get through Danis’ pads.

Not to be out done by Sykora’s first hat trick, Dupuis also notched his first career hat trick with a beautiful move on a breakaway. Cooke and Dupuis had a two-on-one break into the New York zone. Cooke sent a backhanded flip to Dupuis, who was all alone on Danis. Dupuis faked a shot and then roofed a backhanded shot behind the Islanders netminder.
> Pittsburgh improved to 16-9-4 on the year, with a 8-3-2 mark at Mellon Arena. Pittsburgh is 11-5-2 in its last 18 games and snapped a three-game losing streak.

> Pittsburgh scored nine goals in a game for the first time since a 9-4 victory over Philadelphia on Feb. 7, 2001.

> Pittsburgh scored four goals in both the first and second periods. The last time the Penguins scored four goals in a period was Nov. 26 at New York Islanders when they recorded four in the third period to notch a 5-3 comeback victory.

> Petr Sykora and Pascal Dupuis both hit a milestone with their first career hat trick in the game. It was the seventh time in Penguins history that two players had a hat trick in the same game. That last time was April 9, 1993, against the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden. In that game Mario Lemieux and Joe Mullen reached the mark.

> The Penguins ran out to a 4-1 lead following the first period. Pascal Dupuis scored his fourth goal of the season at 6:25. Miroslav Satan notched his 11th score of the year at 13:49 on a five-on-three advantage. The Islanders got on the board with Mark Streit’s power-play goal at 17:29. Petr Sykora answered 11 seconds later with his first goal of the game. Philippe Boucher scored his first goal as a Penguin, and first of the season, with 1:41 left in the opening frame. Pittsburgh added four goals in the second period as well with Malkin’s 12th goal of the season, two from Sykora - both on a power play - and Dupuis’ second goal of the game. The Islanders notched their second goal of the game from Andy Sutton at 13:06 of the third period. Dupuis notched his first career hat trick with his third goal at 16:48 to make it a 9-2 game.

> Pittsburgh outshot the Islanders by a 38-26 margin. Pittsburgh has only been outshot five times in its past 18 games.

> The Penguins have surrendered only two power-play goals in their last 26 times shorthanded.

> Sykora recorded a season-high four-point game that included his first career hat trick. Prior to netting that third goal, Sykora had 38 two-goal games. He finally broke through and added an assist for good measure. It took him 871 games to reach the milestone. Sykora’s four points tied a career high for one game, the last time occurring on March 16, 2008, versus Philadelphia (2G-2A). Sykora has six points (3G-3A) in his last three games, and eight points (5G-3A) in his last five games.

> Dupuis scored his first career hat trick. He has four goals in his last five games.

> Evgeni Malkin recorded two points (goal and assist) against the Islanders to increase his NHL lead with 48 points (12G-36A). Malkin’s 36 assists are also a league best. Malkin is on pace for a 100-assist season (102). Only three players in NHL history have recorded 100-assist seasons (Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzkey and Bobby Orr). Malkin has five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in his last nine games.

> Sidney Crosby notched three assists against the Islanders. Crosby had six goals and 13 assists for 19 points in his last nine games. Crosby climbed the rankings and is now second in the league in scoring with 44 points (13G-31A). His 31 assists are second most in the league, behind only teammate Malkin’s 36.

> The Penguins have the top two scorers in the NHL in Malkin (12+36=48) and Crosby (13+31=44). The last time Pittsburgh had the top two scorers in the league was the 1995-96 season when Mario Lemieux (first) and Jaromir Jagr (second) topped the NHL. The team also had that distinction when Lemieux (first) and Kevin Stevens (second) did it in 1991-92.

> John Curry won his first start in Pittsburgh with a 24-save effort. It was Curry’s first game played or started at Mellon Arena.

> Miroslav Satan notched his 11th goal of the season on a power play. It was his first goal four games.

> Philippe Boucher scored his first goal as a Penguin. 

> Alex Goligoski, Rob Scuderi, Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke each recorded two assists.

> The Penguins scratched forwards Mike Zigomanis and Eric Godard and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

> Mellon Arena sold out for the 80th straight game with a standing room only attendance of 16,972.
1. Petr Sykora, PIT
2. Pascal Dupuis, PIT
3. Miroslav Satan, PIT
"This game is pretty special. I know my dad is watching
and he’s probably happy and proud."
- Petr Sykora


Author: Sam Kasan

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