Islanders 5 – Pittsburgh 3
Photo – Getty Images
The Pittsburgh Penguins (47-24-6, 100 pts) unable to fix their defensive woes, dropped their second straight game, losing to the New York Islanders 5-3 on Thursday night at the Nassau Coliseum.
Pittsburgh which has lost three of four games, have given up 20 goals in their last four games. Tonight Marc Andre Fleury had a second straight subpar game, unable to make routine saves, but the Penguins were not strong defensively, and again had their forwards getting caught watching the puck down low and losing players in space which has been an issue defensively for the Penguins in the past handful of games.
The Penguins unable to beat teams they should this week, now appear a longshot for the No. 1 seed, trailing the New York Rangers by five points with each team having five games remaining.
The Penguins though are in danger of falling out the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference as the Philadelphia Flyers were victorious in Toronto, defeating the Maple Leafs 7-1 at the Air Canada Center. Philadelphia now trails Pittsburgh by just two points.
Marty Reasoner (1) gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead with his first goal in over a year at 11:07 of the first period, and Pascal Dupuis (24) got the Penguins even in the second with a short-handed goal at 8:37 of the period.
The Islanders scored twice in the second period, Kyle Okposo scored a power-play goal when his centering pass intended for Nino Niederreiter in front caromed into the net off Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland with 3:24 left in the period.
Josh Bailey, who had three assists for the second straight game, pushed the Islanders lead to 3-1 exactly 2 minutes later when he scored on a short-handed breakaway. The Penguins using five forwards on the power play, were 0-for-4 on man-advantage.
New York pushed their lead to 4-1 early in the third period when Okposo added his second of the night at 5:52 of the third off a feed in front from Bailey.
The Penguins though battled back. Jordan Staal (24) made it 4-2, splitting the D and beating Al Montoya with a flickering backhand shot. Evgeni Malkin (47) then cut the Islanders lead to 4-3, scoring his 47th goal of the season with 1:31 remaining after Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled for an extra skater, but Bailey pushed the lead back to two goals with an empty-net goal with 4.7 seconds left.
The Penguins outshot the Islanders 29-24. Marc Andre Fleury made 19 saves in the loss. Pittsburgh next plays tomorrow night in Buffalo.
NYI – 11:07 Marty Reasoner (1)
Assists: Mark Streit, Josh Bailey (NYI 1-0)
PIT – 8:37 Pascal Dupuis (24) (Shorthanded)
Assists: Craig Adams, Paul Martin (1-1)
NYI – 16:36 Kyle Okposo (19) (Power Play)
Assists: Josh Bailey, Travis Hamonic (NYI 2-1)
NYI – 18:36 Josh Bailey (12) (Shorthanded)
Assist: Jay Pandolfo (NYI 3-1)
NYI – 5:52 Kyle Okposo (20)
Assists: Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen (NYI 4-1)
PIT – 8:20 Jordan Staal (24)
Assists: Zbynek Michalek, Paul Martin (NYI 4-2)
PIT – 18:29 Evgeni Malkin (47
Assists: Tyler Kennedy, Matt Cooke (NYI 4-3)
NYI – 19:55 Josh Bailey (13)
Unassisted (NYI 5-3)
NOTES: Sidney Crosby was bloodied in the second period after being struck in the face by a puck shot by New York Islanders defenseman Dylan Reese. Crosby was hit 1:43 into the second period and left for several minutes. Crosby though returned and amassed 17:28 of ice time. He was pointless and had a minus-2 rating…….Pascal Dupuis extended his points streak to 12 games…..Evgeni Malkin collected point No. 100 and tied his career high in goals with 47……Pittsburgh scratched Kris Letang (lower body), Ben Lovejoy (knee), Joe Vitale (shoulder), Matt Niskanen (shoulder), Richard Park (healthy), Dustin Jeffrey (healthy)