The Islanders mustered a three-goal comeback, but it was Sidney Crosby’s night as the Pittsburgh Penguin captain tallied a point on all six of his team’s goals to beat the Islanders 6-4. Andy Sutton, Freddy Meyer, Trent Hunter and Richard Park tallied the goals for the Islanders and Doug Weight recorded two assists. Evgeni Malkin was named the game’s second star, scoring a hat-trick. The loss snaps the Islanders four-game win streak and leaves their record at 22-20-8 with 52 points.
Roloson was the main reason the Islanders were in the first period, making a total of eight saves on the nine shots he faced. His best save came on Jordan Staal when the Penguin forward had a chance in front that he snapped to the far post but Roloson was able to get a piece of with his right shoulder to keep the game dead-locked at 0-0.
The one shot that did find its way behind Roloson was off the stick of Crosby, scoring his 31st goal of the season. Mark Eaton took a shot from the left point that hit the back of Bill Guerin in front and caromed to Crosby sneaking in at the left post. Crosby had the easy tap in goal, as Roloson was initially positioned for the point shot, to give Pittsburgh the 1-0 lead.
Two power-play goals, the first from Evgeni Malkin and then Guerin gave the Penguins a 3-0 lead at the seven-minute mark of the second period.
The Islanders’ defenseman would do their part to start chipping away at Pittsburgh’s lead. Sutton’s fourth goal of the season would cut the Penguin lead to two. Doug Weight fed a pass back to the right point where Jack Hillen quickly sent the puck over to his defense partner. Sutton wound up and blasted a slap-shot that found its way through Pittsburgh starter, Brent Johnson to put the Islanders on the scoreboard at 3-1.
Crosby used his way of finding loose pucks in front of the net, to capitalize on his second goal of the game at 13:02. The Penguin captain did a complete 360 of the Islanders zone, starting the play by dropping the puck for Kris Letang in the left circle. Letang fired a shot on Roloson and the rebound fell to Pittsburgh winger, Pascal Dupuis. Instead of slapping it back on goal, Dupuis back-handed a pass to Crosby who swooped in and one-timed a shot over Roloson at the back post, for his 31st tally of the season to regain the three-goal lead.
It was an Islander defenseman putting the team back within two goals, this time it was Meyer scoring his first of the season. Blake Comeau came out from behind the Pittsburgh net with the puck and dished a pass to Meyer who was pinching in, expecting the feed from Comeau. Meyer leaned into the feed, firing it past the glove of Johnson 25 seconds after Crosby’s goal to make the score 4-2 in favor of the Penguins.
In the third, it was Hunter making it a one-goal game as he capitalized on a turnover in the Pittsburgh zone. Sergei Gonchar attempted to break the puck out his zone but a great play by Josh Bailey lifting the Penguin defenseman’s stick allowed Frans Nielsen to tap the puck to Hunter alone in front. Hunter wheeled around and snapped a shot under Johnson for his ninth tally of the season to make it a 4-3 Pittsburgh lead.
Park completed the Islander comeback with his fourth goal of the season coming at 7:11 of the third period. Hillen, assisting on his second goal of the game, walked in from the left point and fired a shot on Johnson. The Penguin net-minder made the initial save but Weight was there, pouncing on the rebound, sliding it under Johnson but off the far post. Park, who was stationed in the slot, caught the carom off the post with his back-hand and then shoveled over the goal-line to tie the score at 4-4.
The Penguins answered and it was Malkin putting the Penguins back on top with his 16th goal of the season and second of the game coming 11:09 into the third period while on the man-advantage. A simple looking play started with Alex Goligoski skating into the Islanders zone, picking up a drop pass from Crosby and sending it down low to Malkin just above the goal-line. Malkin did not waste anytime when he received the puck, one-timing a shot past Roloson’s out-stretched glove to give Pittsburgh the 5-4 lead.
Malkin completed his hat-trick, by scoring into an empty-net and sealing the Penguins victory with 30 seconds remaining in regulation. Crosby assisted on the play to cap off a six point night.
The Islanders were 0-for-3 on the man-advantage while the Penguins went 4-for-7. Roloson suffered the loss, making 23 saves on 28 shots while Johnson earned the win turning aside 31 of the 35 Pittsburgh shots.
Thursday, the Islanders will match-up with the Florida Panthers at 7 p.m. at the Nassau Coliseum. For tickets or information on how to receive group discounted pricing for Thursday’s game or any upcoming Islander games, contact the team’s front office at (516) 501-6700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Sidney Crosby – 6 points speaks for itself
2. Evgeni Malkin – Scores a hat-trick
3. Doug Weight – Two assists
Honorable Mention: Bill Guerin – Former Islander creates havoc in front and scores a goal and an assist
At the Igloo: For the Penguins, tonight was their first game back in Pittsburgh since January 7 when they suffered a tough 7-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Since the, the Penguins went on a five-game road trip that took them out to western Canada. They completed the trip with a 3-2 record, winning games in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton but suffering losses to Minnesota and Vancouver.
Former Isles: There are three former Islanders on Pittsburgh and a “sleeper.” Bill Guerin is the most obvious to most Islander fans after spending the last two seasons on Long Island. Eric Godard and Ruslan Fedotenko are the two other Penguins that spent time in the Islander orange and blue. The “sleeper,” that most fans wouldn’t realize is Mike Rupp. The 6’5, 230 pound center-man was selected by the Islanders in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft ninth overall but was unsigned after playing in the OHL and re-entered the draft.
Criss Cross: Once of the strange things about the Mellon Arena is the criss-cross that the two teams have to do to get to their benches. The Penguins dressing room is located in the right corner of the ice and the Islanders (visitors) dressing room is in the left corner. The quirky thing is, the Islanders bench is on the right side of the ice and then Penguins is on the left.
Rupp and Jackman: The two tough guys have a connection. After the NHL lockout Rupp was traded by the Phoenix Coyotes along with Jason Chimera and Cale Hulse to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Geoff Sanderson and Jackman on October 8, 2005.