In their second game in as many nights (and three in four days) the Pittsburgh Penguins had to dig deep and comeback from a 2 goal deficit in order to defeat the New York Islanders, which they eventually did by a 6-4 final score.
After going down the two goals in the game's first 8:21, the Pens were able to strike back quickly with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz scoring goals (and assisting on each other) within two minutes of each other.
The second period saw the Pens claim a lead they wouldn't relinquish on goals from two defensemen. First Olli Maatta dangled in and made a beautiful shot early in the period, then Kris Letang finished off a simply amazing passing sequence on the power play to make it 4-2 after 40 minutes.
But, as we've seen many times with these Islanders, an insurmountable lead doesn't mean that they still won't try. 3:10 into the third period they'd bring the score within a goal, before Evgeni Malkin emphatically finished a James Neal pass to push the Pens lead back to two goals. The Isles would again climb back to one goal behind, and even had 50 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage but Jeff Zatkoff and the penalty kill would hold on, and Brandon Sutter sealed the deal with four seconds left on an empty netter.
A few more thoughts on the game:
- Great game for Maatta (1g, 1a) and Matt Niskanen (2 assists) who were on the ice for 3 even strength goals for and zero goals against.
- In addition to Crosby's goal and two assists, he won 16 of 24 faceoffs, including one in the defensive zone against John Tavares. It's the little things..
- The Pens had 29 shots on goal (and 53 total shot attempts). Crosby, Malkin, Neal and Kunitz combined for almost half (14) of those shots. They also combined for 3 goals and 6 assists on the night. When the big guys are playing that well, it's probably going to be a win.
- Hard to fault Zatkoff for a lot of the goals against, but one good thing you can say is he kept with it. After surrendering 2 goals in the game's first 8 minutes, he could have fell apart...But he held the Islanders off the scoreboard until the third period, and by then his team had turned a 0-2 hole into a 4-2 lead.
- Craig Adams missed time in the first period after colliding with a teammate that caused some pain and discomfort to the lower body, it looked like. Still, the old warhorse kept playing and was great down the stretch including the last minute PK to preserve the victory. One of Adams' better games in a pretty dull stretch.
- The Pens blocked 17 shots tonight (led by Brooks Orpik - 4). The Isles only got in front of 8. In a wide-open game where it was almost "last shot wins", the Pens defensively did more to be in a position to sacrifice and paid the price.
- From the "hits are an unreliable statistic" file- Chuck Kobasew led the Pens tonight with 4 official hits. The rest of the team had 9 hits...Combined.
And now the Pens move on, clinching their seventh straight season series win over the Islanders. Byeee.