Late Crosby goal lifts Penguins past Islanders
By Rob Rossi
Published: Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, 9:51 p.m.
Evgeni Malkin was not ready.
Sidney Crosby was.
Crosby finished a feed from right winger Pascal Dupuis for his 12th goal — and No. 250 in the NHL — with 1 minute, 16 seconds remaining in regulation.
Really, though, The Story was Malkin, who was at a career-worst 15 games without a goal.
His regular right winger, James Neal, had predicted Friday morning that would end.
The prophecy came true.
“He gives me a lot of great passes day in and day out. He's always looking for me in games. It's not hard for me to pass one to him and get him going,” Neal said, referring to his decision to pass up a clean shot and feed the puck to Malkin, who was marked by an Islander near the front of the crease.
Malkin, whose fourth goal of the season staked the Penguins a 3-1 lead in the second period, did not approve of Neal's decision to dish.
“I (was) not ready,” Malkin said. “He surprised me.”
Malkin has multiple points in four of five games and is now among the top 10 overall scorers with 24 points.
Crosby is tops with 30, and he commended Malkin for contributing to the Penguins' recent run — 4-1-0 — even though more than a month had passed since Malkin's last goal Oct. 17.
“For being a little frustrated, as anyone would, he's found ways to contribute, and that's what you need to do,” Crosby said. “That's something that can be overlooked, but it's not easy. He's done a great job of that.”
The Penguins (15-8-0, 30 points) did not do a great job defensively against the Islanders (8-12-3, 19 points).
Five previous opponents had averaged 21 shots, but Penguins backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff was forced to make 32 saves.
He turned aside nine shots in the final period, which began tied because of two second-period goals from Islanders left winger Thomas Vanek. Those sandwiched a goal from right winger Colin McDonald to erase Penguins leads of 2-0 and 3-1.
A blowout appeared imminent late in the first period, but a natural hat-trick goal by left winger Chris Kunitz was not counted because of a high-stick minor penalty assessed to Malkin. Still, Kunitz was credited for his 10th and 11th goals, both of which were scored on early power plays.
Malkin ran the power play, as defenseman Kris Letang was replaced — early — on the first unit by Paul Martin, giving the Penguins all left-handed shots while working the man-advantage.
The similarity did not prevent the players on the ice from doing their best impersonation of the early-1990s Penguins. Tape-to-tape passes, some of the low-percentage variety, came fast and furious against an Islanders' penalty kill that ranked last overall and 26th on the road.
Letang, sixth among defensemen last season with 12 power-play assists, only had one through 13 games before surrendering his spot to Martin to start the game.
Letang ended up pacing all Penguins with 24:28 of ice time, and he played only four fewer seconds on the power play than Martin.
Right winger Beau Bennett did not finish the game after leaving the bench early in the third period, but coach Dan Bylsma said he did not have an update regarding an injury.
With Bennett unavailable, Bylsma returned Dupuis as the top-line right winger with Crosby and Kunitz.
That line — the NHL's most productive last season — could have a future.
“We'll see,” Crosby said, smiling.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates trade for Mets 1B Davis
- Crews search for Latrobe woman in Linn Run State Park
- Pittsburgh-area students on the hunt for the perfect prom dress
- Hempfield native, 22, publishes with local independent press
- Man found fatally shot in Larimer a mile away from Homewood peace march
- City Theatre cancels ‘Grounded’ through April 20
- Donald turns down New York invite for NFL Draft
- Sculpture at Phipps links art and sustainability
- Survivors in critical condition a day after fifth Armstrong County car crash victim dies
- Chat with Dejan Kovacevic: April 18, 2014
- NBA commissioner Silver makes raising age limit a priority