The New York Islanders held off the Penguins, 5-3, Saturday night to earn a key Atlantic Division contest at Mellon Arena.
The defeat was the fourth in a crucial five-game span against division opponents for the Penguins (11-10-4).
"Overall, we have to get better as a team right now and re-focus. We took a step back with these last two games and we have to make sure we start moving forward again," Penguins winger Mark Recchi said. "This next week is huge for us. It's early December and we can't slide any further [in the standings]. Tuesday night is going to be the most desperate game we have to play all year. Then, we go on a three-game road trip and it's going to be the same thing. This was a great opportunity to move forward and we let it slip. But, we have to stick together as a group and have a good practice on Monday and focus and get ready to play our best game of the year on Tuesday and then take this thing on the road."
Miroslav Satan one-timed a puck past Marc-Andre Fleury 3:38 into the game for a 1-0 Islanders lead. The power-play goal was his 300th career goal.
Colby Armstrong tied the game at 1-all when he tallied a power-play goal with 12:08 left in the period. Sidney Crosby rushed up ice with the puck and into the New York zone. He split two defenders with the puck and goalie Rick DiPietro dove to the ice. Crosby slid the puck past DiPietro into the slot, where Evgeni Malkin tapped it back to Armstrong, who buried it into the open net.
Erik Christensen wristed a shot past DiPietro with 7:58 left for a power-play goal. Christensen took Ryan Whitney's short pass, darted across the slot and fired the puck into the net. Fleury added an assist on the goal.
Viktor Kozlov banged in a rebound to knot the game at 2-all 2:57 into the second period.
Mike Sillinger's power-play goal gave the Islanders a 3-2 edge with 9:56 left in the second.
Kozlov rifled a shot into the net for a 4-2 Islanders lead 10:47 into the third.
Recchi brought the Penguins within a goal, 4-3, with 4:52 left on the clock. Crosby fed a sharp pass to Whitney in the slot and he guided it to Recchi along the far post. Recchi roofed the puck past DiPietro for the goal.
However, New York iced the game with 2:35 to play on Sillinger's second goal of the contest.
"We got a good start. But, we lost our focus in the second period. We tried to make a come back in the third, but that's unacceptable. That was a big game and I thought tonight our defense was not solid like they should be," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "We can't turn the puck over like we're doing. We need more desperation around the net. We didn't play a really solid defensive game.
"We have some guys that are playing really hard and really well. They are focused and dedicated to the team. We have to focus on the positive on some of our guys. We're going to need more from some players."
Fleury stopped 30 of 35 shots, while DiPietro made 34 saves.
"DiPietro was great. He made some key saves," Therrien said.
ICE CHIPS: The Penguins dressed 20 players and did not have any healthy scratches...Joel Bouchard and Alexei Yashin were the Islanders' scratches...The announced attendance was 17,025...Viktor Kozlov (No. 1), Sidney Crosby (No. 2) and Mike Sillinger (No. 3) were the game's three stars.