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Short-handed Penguins beat Islanders

Penguins/NHL Videos

Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Marian Hossa is coming and Sidney Crosby is coming back.

So what?

A team needs great goaltending to win a Stanley Cup.

Oh, the Penguins have that, too.

Ty Conklin stopped 50 shots to give the Penguins a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday.

"I got some bounces, certainly," Conklin said. "I got a chance to bounce back, and I wanted to make sure I did it."

Conklin, noticeably dejected after allowing three shootout goals in a 2-1 loss to San Jose at Mellon Arena on Sunday, rebounded in grand fashion to cap a memorable day in Penguins history.

General manager Ray Shero swung a stunning deal yesterday to acquire Hossa, a star right wing, from Atlanta prior to the NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m. The Penguins also acquired forward Pascal Dupuis in that deal, and landed veteran defenseman Hal Gill from Toronto in another trade.

None of those players were available to play against the Islanders. In fact, the Penguins played significant portions of the game shorthanded due to late-arriving players on emergency recall from the AHL, injuries and equipment trouble.

The Penguins were also without forwards Erik Christensen and Colby Armstrong, who were part of the package Shero sent to Atlanta.

Conklin is not going anywhere -- certainly not to the bench on a full-time basis -- any time soon.

Though former No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury dressed for his first NHL game since Dec. 6, Conklin cemented his place as the Penguins' top goalie.

He is 17-4-5 after making at least 35 saves for the seventh time this season.

"We didn't play our best game, but Ty deserved to win -- and when the goalie deserves to win, he usually wins," coach Michel Therrien said.

The Penguins improved to 36-21-7 with 79 points. They trail New Jersey, an overtime loser at Carolina, by a point for first place in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

The Penguins have 18 remaining regular-season games, which they hope are enough to successfully mesh Hossa and Crosby -- out since Jan. 18 with a high right ankle sprain -- into a lineup that center Evgeni Malkin has guided to a 10-4-4 record without the team captain.

Malkin scored his 36th goal, forward Jeff Taffe his fourth, center Jordan Staal his ninth and forward Connor James his first for the Penguins, who managed only 20 shots.

James' goal was his first in the NHL. He and center Nathan Smith missed the first period because they had not arrived from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL.

"I was at the grocery store, my cell phone had broken and nobody could (reach) me. My roommate had my coach call the grocery store, and they called my name over the intercom," James said. "We got here so late that we didn't know if we would play. That alone was special. To get the goal was even more special."

Malkin, who assisted on Staal's first goal in eight games, entered yesterday tied with Washington's Alexander Ovechkin among scoring leaders with 82 points. Malkin ended a two-game point drought with his 10th multiple-point game in the past 18 contests.

Defenseman Rob Scuderi left the game early with a finger laceration and did not return. Right wing Petr Sykora missed time during the third period, and left wing Ryan Malone missed about 10 minutes with skate problems.

"It was a tough game to play," Therrien said. "There were a lot of distractions."




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