It took nine rounds of an overtime shootout Monday night, but the New York Islanders emerged from Mellon Arena with a 3-2 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Islanders’ Jason Blake scored in the ninth round and New York goalie Rick DiPietro stopped Pittsburgh’s Ryan Whitney to give the guests the 3-2 win.
Both teams converted one of their three in initial shootout chances. Sidney Crosby scored for the Penguins, while Trent Hunter tallied for the Islanders. From there, the shootout went to a sudden-death format.
New York’s Shawn Bates beat Pittsburgh goalie Jocelyn Thibault in the fifth round. Pittsburgh rookie Erik Christensen answered with a goal past DiPietro. Neither team scored until the ninth round when Blake slipped a puck in the goal.
It is the NHL's longest shootout in the first year of the format to break overtime ties in the regular season. It topped the Oct. 28 contest between Columbus and Minnesota. That shootout went five rounds before the Blue Jackets posted a 2-1 win.
The Islanders (9-9-0) carried a 2-0 lead into the third period. Alexei Yashin and Shawn Bates scored both goals in the second period.
Yashin beat Thibault with 10:18 left in the period. After a couple failed Penguins clearing attempts, Yashin ripped a shot over Thibault’s left shoulder that tucked under the crossbar.
Bates broke in on Thibault, faked to his left, brought the puck to his right and flipped it into the net with 2:44 on the scoreboard.
Crosby and Christensen answered for the Penguins (5-8-6). They tallied third-period goals to give the Penguins a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation.
Crosby ripped a one-timer past DiPietro to slice the Penguins’ deficit to 2-1 just 6:18 into the third. An Islanders defenseman tried to send the puck around the back of his net to clear it. However, Christensen intercepted it near the far corner. He fired a pass in the slot to Crosby, who one-timed it past DiPietro for his seventh goal of the year.
Christensen ripped a wrister past DiPietro from the near side with 1:18 left in regulation. Ric Jackman earned the assist. It was Christensen’s second goal of the year and the rookie’s first on Mellon Arena ice.
Thibault stopped 35 of 37 Islanders shots, while DiPietro turned away 26 of 28 Penguins scoring attempts.
ICE CHIPS: Ryan Malone and Rob Scuderi were the Penguins’ healthy scratches…Pittsburgh’s Sergei Gonchar missed the game with a strained groin. He is listed as day to day…Tomi Pettinen and Petteri Nokelainen were the Islanders’ healthy scratches…The announced attendance was 14,415.