Pens stop Islanders
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Tomas Vokoun was sharp in making 33 saves, and Brandon Sutter snapped a tie early in the third period for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who rallied for a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders that stretched their winning streak to 11 games on Friday night.
Sutter took a pass from Matt Cooke in front off a 2-on-1 rush and scored past goalie Evgeni Nabokov 1:46 into the third period. Joe Vitale and Chris Kunitz had second-period goals for Pittsburgh, which erased a pair of one-goal deficits after a sluggish first period.
Pascal Dupuis added an empty-net goal with less than a second remaining, with an assist from Vokoun, to make it 4-2.
Mark Streit put the Islanders ahead in the first, and Josh Bailey answered Vitale’s goal to make it 2-1 in the second, but New York lost its third straight at home of a four-game homestand.
The Islanders have led or been tied in the third period of 25 of their 31 games, but have won only 13 (13-9-3).
New York has been outscored 9-0 in the third period during this homestand, including allowing three final-period goals in a 5-2 loss to Montreal on Thursday.
New York had its only power play when Pascal Dupuis went off for slashing with under 8 minutes left, but failed to capitalize. Pittsburgh went on its second power play before the Islanders advantage ended.
New York had another fruitless power play that started with 3:21 remaining.
The Islanders nearly tied it less than a minute after falling behind, but defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky’s long drive caromed off Vokoun’s glove and then struck the crossbar. It was so close to going in that Visnovsky threw his arms up in celebration.
Vokoun has earned five wins in the streak while splitting time in goal with Marc-Andre Fleury.
New York dominated the first period, holding the high-flying Penguins without a shot until nearly 13 minutes had elapsed, but they only had a 1-0 lead to show for it.
The Islanders outshot Pittsburgh 14-3 in the period, and the only reason the edge on the scoreboard wasn’t greater was due to the strong play in net by Vokoun.
The Penguins netminder was challenged early and often by the Islanders, who spent much of the first period in the Pittsburgh end. Vokoun stopped a shot by Michael Grabner in front after he did a spin move less than 2 minutes in, and was tested a few minutes later by defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who fired a hard shot at him.
The rebound was shoved behind Vokoun, but it slid through the crease without finding the net.
New York finally got a puck past Vokoun at 7:46 of the first after Frans Nielsen had a clean faceoff win in the left circle in the Penguins zone. Nielsen pushed the puck back to Matt Carkner at the left point, and Carkner moved it quickly to Streit, who ripped a one-timer from the middle of the blue line.
Streit celebrated his fifth goal with an understated fist pump as the Islanders had a 10-0 in shots.
The margin was 12-0 when John Tavares was stopped by Vokoun on a wraparound try, before the Penguins got their first shot of the game with 7:08 remaining by James Neal.
The Penguins showed some jump toward the end of the period and registered two more shots and received the first power play of the game.
Pittsburgh came out quickly to start the second and put more pressure on Nabokov. They didn’t cash in on the power play, but tied the game 1-1 when Vitale took a lead pass from Craig Adams to get into the zone, skated to the center of the left circle and snapped a shot into the upper right corner at 8:11.
The teams traded some more chances, and Vokoun stood out again – especially with just over 4 minutes left in the second when he was down on his right side and kicked his leg up to deny Marty Reasoner.
Another Islanders flurry led to Bailey’s fourth of the season, scored with 2:42 left in the period. But New York couldn’t carry the lead into the third because Kunitz tied it with 13.8 seconds left.
Sidney Crosby raced the puck up the right side and backhanded pass to Kunitz, who fired a shot from the high slot that trickled through Nabokov’s pads.
NOTES: Penguins C Tyler Kennedy missed the game because of an illness and was replaced in the lineup by forward Trevor Smith, who was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL. Pittsburgh was also without C Evgeni Malkin (upper body), who missed his seventh straight game, and D Kris Letang, who sat out his second in a row. … The assist was Carkner’s first point in 11 games this season.