THE CROSBY SHOW
By Kerry Gwydir
The Islanders failed to their bid to help Garth Snow earn his first win since November, while Penguins phenom Sidney Crosby was successful in earning his 100th point of the season in tonight's 6-1 Penguins win at the Igloo.
Crosby became the youngest player in NHL history to score 100 points in a season when his third assist of the night gave the Penguins a 4-1 lead midway through the third period. Tonight's finale for Pittsburgh went their way, just as the Islanders hope to do for their faithful on Tuesday night at the Coliseum.
It took the Penguins just 1:04 into the evening to open the scoring as Andy Hilbert converted a 2-on-1 feed from Crosby past Snow. The tally, Hilbert's 12th of the year, came as a result of John Erskine and Alexei Yashin getting caught in the neutral zone. Not the way the Islanders wanted to start a game in which they badly wanted a win for their highly-respected veteran goaltender.
The Islanders continued to stumble in the opener, and it was a giveaway in their own zone by Trent Hunter that gave the hosts a 2-0 lead. Ryan Malone tallied his 20th of the season after John Leclair picked off Hunter's pass at the Islander blueline. Unhappy with his team's effort at that juncture of the game, head coach Brad Shaw called a timeout and let his players hear his dissatisfaction.
With 3:34 left in the first, the Islanders were granted a 5-on-3 powerplay for 47 seconds after Hilbert and Brooks Orpik were shipped off. The Isles managed two quality chances a one-timer from Miro Satan and a break-in by Shawn Bates. But both opportunities were denied by Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins continued to hand the Isles opportunities to get back in the game immediately in the second when Miro Satan was awarded a penalty shot 36 seconds into the second period. But the Pittsburgh goalie came up big with a pad stop on Satan, and then followed that up off the ensuing faceoff with a highlight-reel glove rejection off a turn-around wrister from Jeremy Colliton.
Pittsburgh helped the Isles out three minutes later when Tomas Surovy knocked a shot taken by Satan into the Pen's net. The goal was Satan's 35th of the year as he blasted a shot through Fleury that hit the post and dinged Surovy, who was backing into the Penguin's cage. Shawn Bates and Chris Campoli notched the assists.
As the Isles continued to pressure, the rough stuff started when former Islander Eric Cairns leveled rookie Steve Regier with an unpenalized elbow in the offensive zone along the end boards. With Regier on the ice injured, Erskine took on Cairns and landed a right that dropped the Penguin's defenseman to the ice. Regier left the game and has not returned.
Surovy got his own-goal back with 4:41 left in the second as he potted a pass from Crosby behind Snow. Crosby started a give-and-go with Colby Armstrong and danced around Denis Grebeshkov and Radek Martinek to find Surovy alone at the far post.
A five-minute charging penalty to Jason Blake for an unnecessary running leap into Armstrong that sent the Penguin's forward injured to the ice cost the Isles another goal. A rocket from Malone from the top of the slot beat Snow for his second of the game and proved to be Crosby's third assist of the night and his 100th point of the season.
Josef Melichar and Ryan Whitney closed out the scoring in the third period.
The Islanders will try to do their part to rattle the top of the division when they play the Flyers at the Coliseum on Tuesday night. All fans in attendance will receive an Islanders 2006 Team Poster courtesy of Valtech research.
(10) Sean Bergenheim-(79) Alexei Yashin-(15) Jeff Tambellini
(7) Trent Hunter-(17) Shawn Bates-(81) Miroslav Satan
(55) Jason Blake-(28) Wyatt Smith-(21) Robert Nilsson
(48) Steve Regier-(40) Matt Koalska-(27) Jeremy Colliton
(14) Chris Campoli-(24) Radek Martinek
(43) Ryan Caldwell-(6) Bruno Gervais
(3) Denis Grebeshkov-(44) John Erskine
(30) Garth Snow
(39) Rick DiPietro
(9) Andy Hilbert-(87) Sidney Crosby-(20) Colby Armstrong
(10) John LeClair-(12) Ryan Malone-(71) Konstantin Koltsov
(43) Tomas Surovy-(23) Eric Boguniecki-(7) Michel Ouellet
(36) Andre Roy-(28) Jani Rita-(15) Niklas Nordgren
(19) Ryan Whitney-(44) Brooks Orpik
(5) Rob Scuderi-(2) Josef Melichar
(4) Noah Welch-(33) Eric Cairns
(29) Marc-Andre Fleury
(31) Sebastien Caron