Pens win rare division game
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- They have not completely grown up, but a lot about the Penguins has changed since their previous visit to Nassau Coliseum last month.
For starters, though they surrendered a two-goal lead again in a road game against the New York Islanders, they at least won on Saturday.
Forward Tyler Kennedy, skating on a line with captain Sidney Crosby, recorded a career-best three points. He also scored at 14:16 of the third period to give the Penguins a 3-2 victory.
Still, despite halting a two-game losing skid and winning a division game for the first time since Nov. 15 -- against the Islanders at Mellon Arena -- the Penguins held a players-only meeting following the game.
One player said there was a lot of yelling.
Veteran defenseman Darryl Sydor was not that player and would not divulge details of the meeting. However, he indicated the players were displeased about allowing the Islanders at least five prime scoring chances on a five-minute Penguins power play towards the end of the game.
"We got lucky with that," Sydor said. "When you have that power play you have to focus and play good defense. We have to be aware of that.
"We got away with one. It is always better to get away with one, but if you do not learn from it, there will be a problem."
New York left wing Chris Simon was assessed a match penalty for intent to injury after apparently kicking forward Jarkko Ruutu near the benches with about six minutes remaining.
The Penguins were awarded five minutes of power-play time, but the Islanders earned the better chances, including a missed shot on a breakaway by center Mike Sillinger with about three minutes remaining.
The Penguins were 1 for 6 on the power play without defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who did not play due to illness. In four games without Gonchar the power play has scored on just three of 20 opportunities.
"We did not play well on the power play, especially at the end," coach Michel Therrien said. "It comes down to us not having the right attitude, especially at the end."
Therrien would not elaborate on what he meant by "attitude."
Crosby said the Penguins need to "make sure (their) work ethic is there" in future situations when they can wrap a game on a late power play.
Ironically, on a night the Penguins' power-play performance nearly allowed them to steal defeat from the jaws of victory, Kennedy scored with the man-advantage to give them two crucial points.
Strong work by center Jordan Staal set up Kennedy's sixth of the season late in the second after the Islanders opened the second with quick strikes by left wing Richard Park and center Josef Vasicek only 45 seconds apart.
Park tallied his fifth at 4:57 and Vasicek capped a 2-on-1 break with Miroslav Satan by scoring his 10th at 5:42.
The Penguins had taken a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Crosby, his 15th, and defenseman Ryan Whitney, his seventh. Kennedy assisted on each goal.
Still, there was an alarming sense of dejà vu after Vasicek scored in the second.
The Penguins blew a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 defeat here Nov. 3.
Recent history would not repeat itself thanks to the speed of Kennedy, a rookie that has impressed since his first promotion from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL in late-October.
"He gets on the puck quick and keeps it alive and gives you a chance to score," Crosby said. "He is a tenacious guy, which is good for us."
Veteran forward Gary Roberts continued to flash his tenacity. Late in the first period he and New York defenseman Andy Sutton engaged in fisticuffs. Most of them were thrown by Roberts, who floored his far bigger foe with a series of roundhouse blows.
The Penguins played with only five defensemen over the final 30-plus minutes due to Rob Scuderi's ankle injury. Therrien offered no update on Scuderi's status.
The Penguins are 16-14-2 with 34 points and have won eight of 11. They improved to 9-13-2 in the East and 4-8-1 in the Atlantic, where they trail first-place New Jersey by only three points.
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.
- Crosby appreciates his relationship with Penguins fans
- Penguins goalie prospects push each other amid friendly competition
- AHL overtime rules create some confusion for Penguins prospects
- Penguins’ Johnston eager to implement up-tempo style
- Penguins’ Dea impresses in rookie tournament opener
- Rookie tourney offers opportunity for Penguins’ prospects
- Recchi relishes new role with Penguins
- Penguins confident Pouliot will be healthy, ready for camp
- Ex-Penguin Malone looking for 2nd chance