The Pittsburgh Penguins (24-8-0, 48 pts) extended their winning streak to 11 games, defeating the New York Islanders (13-15-3, 29 pts) 4-2 on Friday night at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Penguins overcame a flat first period where the Islanders outshot the Penguins 14-3 in the period and took a 1-0 lead 7:46 in on a Mark Streit (5) blast from the point for his 5th goal of the season. Pittsburgh didn’t record their first shot until 12:53 into the period but this was the type of game where a bad team finds a way to lose.
Joe Vitale (2) tied the game at 1-1 with his second goal of the season at 8:08 of the second period, coming down the left side with speed and beating Evgeni Nabokov glove side with a beautiful shot as the secondary scoring from the fourth line, most notably Vitale is coming alive as Vitale has two goals in his last three games.
The Islanders regained their one goal lead when Josh Bailey (4) scored with 2:42 left in the second period after a breakdown in front by the Penguins.
Moments later the Penguins got a huge goal from Chris Kunitz (19) with 14 seconds left in the period, in what was a goal that deflated the Islanders.
Pittsburgh would soon take over the lead less than two minutes into the third period when Brandon Sutter (9) scored 1:46 into the period, giving the Penguins a 3-2 lead as Sutter put home a pass from Matt Cooke off a 2-on-1 rush.
Sutter’s third period tally was his 4th game winning goal of the season and six of Sutter’s nine goals have come on the power play and he has 5 goals during the Penguins 11 game winning streak.
Pascal Dupuis (15) added an empty net goal with 0.1 seconds left.
The Penguins entered the game with the 21st ranked penalty kill and were 2 for 2 on the PK and both kills were big ones in the third period, having to kill off a Brooks Orpik hooking penalty with under four minutes left in the game. The Penguins have killed off 13 of their last 14 power play opportunities against.
Goaltender Tomas Vokoun made 33 saves, improving to 8-3-0 on the season. Vokoun helped weather the storm and came up with some big stops as he continues to show much improved rebound control of late and is back to squaring up shooters.
Sidney Crosby picked up two assists, assisting on goals from Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis. Crosby has 52 points in 32 games and is second in the NHL with a plus-23 rating.
Kunitz moved into second in the NHL with 41 points and remains first in the NHL with a plus/minus rating of plus-24.
The Penguins host the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday night at the Consol Energy Center as the Penguins look to extend their winning streak to 12 games. The Flyers have snapped two Penguin winning streaks of 11 games or more the past two seasons.
On December 14, 2010 the Flyers snapped the Penguins 12 game winning streak with a 3-2 win in Philadelphia, and last season the Flyers snapped the Penguins 11 game winning streak with a 3-2 overtime win against the Penguins on March 18, 2012.