Vanek Scores Twice in Return, but Isles lose 4-3

Cory Wright | Friday, 11.22.2013 / 11:03 PM

The Islanders rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game, but allowed the go-ahead goal with 1:16 remaining in regulation and lost 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night at CONSOL Energy Center.

Thomas Vanek scored twice in his return from an upper-body injury, but despite a gritty effort the Isles couldn’t hang on late, as Sidney Crosby tapped in the winner at 18:44 of the third.

“We worked hard and it came down to a play at the end of the game,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “We have to find a way with a minute left.”

Vanek made his presence felt after missing five games, sparking the Isles offense with two second period goals. The Austrian winger one-timed a feed past Penguins backup Jeff Zatkoff to put the Isles on the board at 1:46 and showed no hesitation, crashing the net for the game-tying goal at 12:54.

Colin McDonald scored his second goal of the season betweenVanek’s markers, picking up a Casey Cizikas feed and burying a wrister off the rush past Zatkoff.

The Islanders gave up an even-strength goal to Evgeni Malkin and conceded two on the penalty kill. The Isles took three first-period minors before the eight-minute mark, allowing a red-hot Chris Kunitz to score twice and the Pens to go up 2-0 after one.

“We were happy with the way we were playing when we weren’t in the box,” John Tavares said. “With the weapons they have and the way our PK has been going, we have to find a way to stay out of (the box),”

Islanders goaltender Kevin Poulin preserved his club's second period rally for much of the second and third, making key saves to keep the Islanders in the game. Poulin stopped a Brandon Sutter breakaway minutes before McDonald’s goal and robbed Malkin on a breakaway in the third period. He made 30 saves in the loss, while Zatkoff made 32.

“He made the saves that he had to,” Capuano said. “He gave us a chance to win, but unfortunately we left a guy alone in front of the net with 1:16 to go.”

The Islanders finish off their fifth set of back-to-back games this season with a game against the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday night. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. from Wells Fargo Center.

NOTES: Travis Hamonic played 28:09 and finished the game plus-1… Casey Cizikas extended his point streak to four games (3g/1a) with an assist on McDonald’s goal… The Islanders are 4-4-1 in back-to-back games this season.

Islanders Lines:


26 Thomas Vanek – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo

40 Michael Grabner – 51 Frans Nielsen – 12 Josh Bailey

96 Pierre-Marc Bouchard – 16 Peter Regin – 15 Cal Clutterbuck

17 Matt Martin – 53 Casey Cizikas – 13 Colin McDonald


47 Andrew MacDonald – 3 Travis Hamonic

46 Matt Donovan – 4 Radek Martinek

14 Thomas Hickey – 7 Matt Carkner


60 Kevin Poulin

45 Anders Nilsson

Penguins Lines:


14 Chris Kunitz – 87 Sidney Crosby – 19 Beau Bennett

9 Pascal Dupuis – 71 Evgeni Malkin – 18 James Neal

49 Brian Gibbons – 36 Jussi Jokinen – 16 Brandon Sutter

15 Tanner Glass – 46 Joe Vitale – 27 Craig Adams


44 Brooks Orpik – 7 Paul Martin

3 Olli Maata – 58 Kris Letang

2 Matt Niskanen – 5 Deryk Engelland


29 Marc-Andre Fleury

37 Jeff Zatkoff

Scoring Summary
1st Period
04:04PIT PPG - Chris Kunitz (10) ASST: Sidney Crosby (18), Evgeni Malkin (20) 1 - 0 PIT
07:55PIT PPG - Chris Kunitz (11) ASST: James Neal (4), Paul Martin (8) 2 - 0 PIT
2nd Period
01:46NYI Thomas Vanek (6) ASST: Kyle Okposo (15), Radek Martinek (3) 2 - 1 PIT
06:25PIT Evgeni Malkin (4) ASST: James Neal (5), Jussi Jokinen (6) 3 - 1 PIT
11:33NYI Colin McDonald (2) ASST: Casey Cizikas (2) 3 - 2 PIT
12:54NYI Thomas Vanek (7) ASST: Kyle Okposo (16), John Tavares (17) 3 - 3 Tie
3rd Period
18:44PIT Sidney Crosby (12) ASST: Pascal Dupuis (10), Chris Kunitz (10) 4 - 3 PIT
Three Stars of the Game
Chris Kunitz
Chris Kunitz
G: 2Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 16:32
Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 20:50
Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek
G: 2Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 2
+/-: 2TOI: 21:52
Penalty Summary
1st Period
02:54NYI Peter Regin  Concealing puck
04:41NYI Thomas Vanek  Interference against  Brandon Sutter
07:42NYI Travis Hamonic  Hi-sticking against  Brooks Orpik
16:28PIT Deryk Engelland  Roughing against  Cal Clutterbuck
18:50PIT Evgeni Malkin  Hi-sticking against  Matt Carkner
19:20NYI Pierre-Marc Bouchard  Hooking against  Craig Adams
2nd Period
03:11PIT Matt Niskanen  Roughing against  Michael Grabner
14:01PIT Matt Niskanen  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
15:58PIT Craig Adams  Slashing against  Josh Bailey
3rd Period
18:50PIT Tanner Glass  Slashing against  Travis Hamonic
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/62/4
Faceoff Wins2931
Blocked Shots1611
Penalty Minutes812
3T. HamonicD0015228:09
4R. MartinekD0102015:37
7M. CarknerD0011012:56
12J. BaileyR0001013:56
13C. McDonaldR1002010:24
14T. HickeyD0004023:04
15C. ClutterbuckR00-13015:04
16P. ReginC0000211:58
17M. MartinL0003012:29
21K. OkposoR0222020:10
26T. VanekL2023221:52
40M. GrabnerR0001011:43
46M. DonovanD0000018:19
47A. MacDonaldD0001013:17
51F. NielsenC0003018:11
53C. CizikasC0101011:45
91J. TavaresC0112020:58
96P. BouchardC00-11215:40
60K. Poulin3034.88259:05
2M. NiskanenD0012416:38
3O. MaattaD0004016:01
5D. EngellandD0011211:51
7P. MartinD01-12024:19
9P. DupuisR0101019:58
14C. KunitzL2113016:32
15T. GlassL00-13212:09
16B. SutterC00-23013:43
18J. NealR0203016:38
19B. BennettR000009:49
27C. AdamsR00-10214:12
36J. JokinenL0101013:59
44B. OrpikD00-20024:01
46J. VitaleC000008:48
49B. GibbonsC00-1008:08
58K. LetangD00-13024:28
71E. MalkinC1116216:46
87S. CrosbyC1102020:50
37J. Zatkoff3235.91460:00