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Penguins vs. Islanders recap: Crosby, Malkin, Kessel show up late, Pens win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins big guns show up in the 3rd period and that's good enough to take a 4-2 win over the visiting New York Islanders.

1st period

As a surprising change of events for this early season, the Penguins draw and don't take the early penalty. And they make the most of it. Phil Kessel passes the puck by Thomas Hickey to Sidney Crosby . Crosby then passes the puck right by Hickey again to Patric Hornqvist right in front of the net, unmarked. Yeah, that's gonna be 1-0.

Might be the worst moment for Thomas Hickey since the kids in middle school learned the meaning of the word "hickey".

Shane Prince for the Isles get a breakaway but hits the post. Fleury makes some more nice saves too.

The Penguins get a really good power play chance late in the period but can't convert so we go 1-0 into intermission. Shots are close, but it seems like Pittsburgh has had more sustained pressure overall.

2nd period

For the first half of the second period, shots are 11-3 NYI, as things certainly shift from the first period. Fleury is great at several exchanges at keeping scoring chances from turning into just scores. Like really, really great.

The magic runs out though after Trevor Daley steps up in the offensive zone and fails to score, the Islanders convert a 2-on-1 and Prince feeds a really nice pass to Travis Hamonic who makes a great shot past Fleury to tie the game.

Period comes to an end with Evgeni Malkin taking a dumb penalty with 7 seconds lefts to go, wee.

3rd period

Both teams trade penalties early in the period, not much going on. Then with about 13:30 to go the Kunitz-Malkin-Kessel line has a great shift and it looks like the Pens have flipped the switched, finally showing some interest late in the game. Shots in the period are 8-1 Pittsburgh at one point

Malkin makes up for his penalty by taking a pass from Kessel and throwing a puck on net that eludes Jaroslav Halak who was in an awkward position. Still counts, 2-1 Pens.

Malkin though unredeems himself by taking another stick penalty and the Islanders get lucky when a bounce goes off the glass and past Fleury behind the net and straight to Prince. Easy goal to tie it up with just over 4 minutes left.

Crosby though wouldn't be denied, 2 minutes later he puts a big hit on Johnny Boychuck which disconnects the NYI defenseman from his stick. Scott Wilson tries a shot, but Crosby stops that shot and pushes the puck past Halak to take the lead.

The Pens get a power play when Andrew Ladd makes a dangerous hit from behind on Carl Hagelin (who goes to the room). Kessel scores a 5-hole PP goal for a little bit of late insurance.

Some Thoughts

  • Penalty kill went 4/4 early (and 5/6 overall) which is good, but the players are still taking too many penalties for needless reasons at times. Sullivan's stressed this but no difference has happened on the ice yet. I'm sure this will continue to be addressed but until the guys on the ice play with more discipline this is going to keep frustrating all.
  • Fleury was dy-no-mite today. Not exactly a hot take or bold analysis, but needed to be said. It's a shame the puck rimmed up the boards and to the glass and off a partition in a weird way, costing MAF a second goal against. Bad break he didn't deserve, but a win is a win.
  • Bad sign for the Pens overall though, NYI played last night and had to travel too, they should have looked like the more sluggish bunch, for understandable reasons. Pittsburgh started fairly well in the first 10-15 minutes of the game, but then they were really underwhelming for the next prolonged stretch of game action.
  • 6 hits on the night for Ian Cole. We saw this last game too with a really heavy hit on Jagr. Cole looks very comfortable and is throwing his weight around. He has been very effective in his physical play and has definitely started this season a lot better than the last year when he was struggling mightily at this time.
  • First time all season (though the season is still young) that the Pens put up 4 goals.
  • Crosby (1g+1a), Malkin (1g+1a) and Kessel (1g+2a) all put their stamps on this game, each in their respective ways. Big guns all were there again.
  • Pens improve to an impressive 5-0-1 mark at home this season.
  • Once again it looked like the Pens were just kind of there until about 13 minutes left in the 3rd and then they turned it on (and outscored the Isles 3-1 from that point, the only goal against the fluky play). Not sure if it's a positive or not that this talented team can basically flip the switch and get the reward of the win, seemingly at will, but hey...It's early and they're champs. Tough to be invested for each and every game.

However, next game I doubt there will be problems with motivation. The Penguins hit the road and travel to Philadelphia for a rivalry game on Saturday night. That opponent will have their full attention and, let's hope at least, they won't look so disinterested early since a feisty crowd and loserly opponent will have them on their toes.