Islanders 2 – Penguins 1
In a back to back situation, it took the woeful New York Islanders to slow down Sidney Crosby.
The Islanders snapped Crosby’s 25-game point streak behind a trapping style defensive game and a 37 save performance from goaltender Rick Dipietro who led the Islanders to a 2-1 shootout win over the NHL leading Penguins (25-11-3, 53pts) on Wednesday night.
The Islanders did an excellent of collapsing on Crosby and not giving him any time and space. Crosby had just 2 shots on goal in the game.
Crosby’s run in which he collected 26 goals and 24 assists, was the longest in the NHL since Quebec’s Mats Sundin had a 30-game streak during the 1992-93 season.
Coming into tonight’s game, Crosby had scored a goal in five consecutive games as tonight wasn’t the game that many thought the streak would end as Crosby statistically has dominated the Islanders more than any other team, recording 62 points in 33 career games.
The Islanders limited Crosby’s opportunities and with the scored tied 1-1 in overtime, Pittsburgh failed to win the game on a power play opportunity 3:46 into overtime.
Pittsburgh went 0-for-2 on the power play in the game.
In the shootout, Kris Letang scored but Crosby was denied on Pittsburgh’s second shootout attempt when DiPietro made a pad save.
Trailing 2-1 in the shootout, Evgeni Malkin who was the Penguins third shooter beat Dipietro with an inside out move and sent the shootout to a 4th round.
With the teams tied 2-2 through three shootout rounds, P.A and Parenteau put the Islanders ahead by scoring off a speed rush on Fleury, and DiPietro sealed New York’s win by stopping Mark Letestu in round 4.
It was a rare win for the Islanders as the Penguins were 16-4-1 against the Isles since the start of the 2007-08 season and 11-1-1 the past two seasons.
Playing in back-to-back games, the Penguins were sluggish at times but got a spark in the second period from their third line unit of Chris Conner, Mark Letestu and Tyler Kennedy as Letestu created a turnover in the neutral zone and got the puck up to Tyler Kennedy who got the puck on net and Chris Conner drove to the far post and tied the game at the 16:33 mark with his 4th goal of the season.
In the third period, the Penguins failed to register a shot in the first 10-minutes of third period but the team missed on two golden opportunities to take a 2-1 lead
With 7:01 left in regulation, defenseman Bruno Gervais closed his hand on the puck in the crease, a play in what was a questionable call and the Penguins were awarded a penalty shot.
The Penguins first tried to sneak Sidney Crosby on the ice to take the shot but defenseman Kris Letang, who is 13 for 30 in career shootout tries, took the attempt and shot wide with a backhander.
Letang’s miss on the penalty shot though wasn’t the Penguins only squandered opportunity as moments earlier, Rick Dipietro mishandled the puck on a clearing attempt in the slot and winger Tyler Kennedy fired wide on a wideopen shot….. A shot he has to put in the back of the net.
Pittsburgh outshot the Islanders 38-26 in the loss.
The Penguins fell to 25-11-3, 53 pts on the season and the focus now goes to the Winter Classic.
Forward Eric Godard (broken nose) and Ben Lovejoy (healthy) were scratched for Pittsburgh. Brett Johnson returned to the lineup and served as Marc Andre Fleury’s backup for the first time in three games.
Pittsburgh re-assigned John Curry earlier in the day.