New York
Islanders
34-37-11
Pittsburgh
Penguins
51-24-7

35 SOG
34 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
NYI
PIT
game recap

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

Friday, 11.22.2013 / 11:03 PM

Cory Wright

Three Stars of the Game
Chris Kunitz
1st
Chris Kunitz
G: 2Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 16:32
Sidney Crosby
2nd
Sidney Crosby
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 20:50
Thomas Vanek
3rd
Thomas Vanek
LW
G: 2Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 2
+/-: 2TOI: 21:52

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
04:04
PIT
PPG - Chris Kunitz (10) Wrist shot - ASST: Sidney Crosby (18), Evgeni Malkin (20)
1 - 0 PIT
07:55
PIT
PPG - Chris Kunitz (11) Slapshot - ASST: James Neal (4), Paul Martin (8)
2 - 0 PIT
2nd Period
01:46
NYI
Thomas Vanek (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Kyle Okposo (15), Radek Martinek (3)
2 - 1 PIT
06:25
PIT
Evgeni Malkin (4) Wrist shot - ASST: James Neal (5), Jussi Jokinen (6)
3 - 1 PIT
11:33
NYI
Colin McDonald (2) Snap shot - ASST: Casey Cizikas (2)
3 - 2 PIT
12:54
NYI
Thomas Vanek (7) Backhand shot - ASST: Kyle Okposo (16), John Tavares (17)
3 - 3 Tie
3rd Period
18:44
PIT
Sidney Crosby (12) Wrist shot - ASST: Pascal Dupuis (10), Chris Kunitz (10)
4 - 3 PIT
penalty summary
1st Period
02:54
NYI
Peter Regin  Concealing puck
04:41
NYI
Thomas Vanek  Interference against  Brandon Sutter
07:42
NYI
Travis Hamonic  Hi-sticking against  Brooks Orpik
16:28
PIT
Deryk Engelland  Roughing against  Cal Clutterbuck
18:50
PIT
Evgeni Malkin  Hi-sticking against  Matt Carkner
19:20
NYI
Pierre-Marc Bouchard  Hooking against  Craig Adams
2nd Period
03:11
PIT
Matt Niskanen  Roughing against  Michael Grabner
14:01
PIT
Matt Niskanen  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
15:58
PIT
Craig Adams  Slashing against  Josh Bailey
3rd Period
18:50
PIT
Tanner Glass  Slashing against  Travis Hamonic
goalie stats
Kevin Poulin
SA: 34TOI: 59:05
Saves: 30EV: 26 - 28
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 6
SV%: .882SH: 0 - 0
Jeff Zatkoff
Jeff Zatkoff
2-2-0
SA: 35TOI: 60:00
Saves: 32EV: 25 - 28
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .914SH: 2 - 2
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