Marc Andre Fleury made 32 saves and the Pittsburgh Penguins (7-3-0, 14 pts) survived a third period scare, defeating the New York Islanders (4-4-1, 9 pts), 4-2 on Tuesday night, extending their winning streak to a season high four games.
Fleury had a strong night, making 16 saves on the penalty kill as the Islanders went 0 for 7 on the power play for the second straight game.
James Neal (6), Simon Despres (2), Brandon Sutter (2) and Pascal Dupuis (EN, 3) all scored for the Penguins in the win.
The Penguins took a three goal lead on Brandon Sutter’s second goal of the season at 1:44 of the third period. The Islanders would quickly respond, scoring twice in 35 seconds as Michael Grabner scored at 3:14 of the period and Brad Boyes cut the Penguins lead to 3-2 with a backhand goal at 3:49 of the period.
Pascal Dupuis would add an empty net goal to seal the win.
Undisciplined play followed the Penguins for most of the night but the penalty kill was exceptional going 7 for 7 on the night, and killing off a Chris Kunitz penalty with under five minutes left in the game. In last Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Islanders, the Isles looked like the 1980’s Edmonton Oilers moving the puck around the Penguins at will but tonight we saw some adjustments from the Penguins. Their sticks were constantly in passing lanes and they didn’t get caught being stationary, which was an issue last week. The Penguins PKer’s picked their spots to be aggressive and Marc Andre Fleury was the best penalty killer on the ice. Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik each logged 8:36 of ice time on the PK.
“I don’t think you can say enough about the penalty kill tonight,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “Marc Andre Fleury was outstanding in that regard.”
The Penguins are now 85% on the PK this season.
The Penguins have been a different team in the past week in their ability to score momentum changing goals. What we’ve seen over the last four games is a “quick” strike” ability which is what this team is built on. They are altering momentum of a game with a quick goal. 2:52 into the first period, Marty Reasoner takes a holding penalty and six seconds later, James Neal scores a power play goal burying a feed from Sidney Crosby to give the Penguins a 1-0 early lead. In the second period, the Penguins altered momentum, killing off three penalties in a 7:17 span and 33 seconds after killing the third penalty (James Neal) of the period, Simon Despres scores with a snap shot from 44 ft out off the rush to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.
This wasn’t a game the Penguins dominated by any means. By being undisciplined, the Penguins struggled to create much zone time and the Islanders finally broke through in the third period with two goals in a 35 second span.
What plagued the Penguins defensively early in the third period was Fleury’s excellent rebound control in periods one and two wasn’t there at the start of the third, and they had a spell in the first four to five minutes of the period where the D-zone coverage in front of the net was poor as the Penguins weren’t identifying players in front. The Crosby and Malkin’s line were on the ice for back to back goals against. The encouraging sign, though, was the Penguins didn’t get rattled and collapse as the Islanders were buzzing at times in the third period. The Penguins buckled down and prevailed 4-2 as Pascal Dupuis iced the game with an empty goal.
NOTES: Sidney Crosby had an assist, giving him 8 assists in his last five games. Crosby left the game in the second period after taking a puck to the nose. He would later return and only miss four minutes……Kris Letang extended his points streak to four games with an assist…..Matt Cooke picked up a primary assist on Brandon Sutter’s third period goal and has points in back to back games…..Brooks Orpik had a team-high 5 blocked shots….Chris Kunitz, Simon Despres and James Neal each had two penalties in the game…..The Penguins scratched Ben Lovejoy, Eric Tangradi and Dustin Jeffrey…..