Crosby, Malkin too potent for Islanders
First, Sidney Crosby went into a slump and Evgeni Malkin followed by going into an extended one. Those days look to be gone for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who finally watched both of their stars enjoy big games on the same night.
Malkin broke out of a slump with three goals and Crosby scored twice while figuring in every Pittsburgh goal as the Penguins recovered after blowing a three-goal lead to beat the Islanders 6-4 on Tuesday, ending New York's four-game winning streak.
Trent Hunter and Richard Park scored in the third period as the Islanders came back from deficits of 3-0 and 4-1 to tie it, but Kyle Okposo drew a tripping penalty midway through the period that led to Malkin's power-play goal that made it 5-4. Earlier, Okposo failed on a penalty shot and couldn't score twice on breakaways — all in a span of 1:34 in the second period.
Malkin scored from the right circle to put the Penguins back into the lead at 11:09 of the third and he added an empty-net goal with 29.6 seconds remaining, resulting in a brief delay as hundreds of hats and giveaway bags littered the ice. Both goals came on a Penguins power play that went 4-7 after beginning the game as the NHL's second worst.
"Those two goals are great examples of his [Malkin's] shot," Crosby said. "He was ready to let it go.
"Those are tough for goalies to stop when he sets up like that. When he got his chances to let it rip, he buried it."
It was the first time in their careers that Crosby, the 2007 NHL scoring champion, and Malkin, last season's champion, each scored multiple goals in the same game.
"When you give those guys time and space to make plays, they're going to make them," Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson said. "Especially with the skill that they have."
Malkin has four goals in two games after going 11 consecutive games without a goal following his last previous three-goal game Dec. 23, not long after Crosby had only one goal in 11 games.
"I'm not thinking about my goals," Malkin said. "I'm just want to play my game and help my linemates."
'You never really felt comfortable'
Crosby's six points matched his career high previously set against the Flyers in December 2006, and topped his previous season high of five points Nov. 28 against the Rangers. He has nine multiple goal games this season — three in seven games — and, with 32 goals, he has only one fewer than the 33 he scored last season.
Crosby beat Roloson for even-strength goals that made it 1-0 late in the first and 4-1 in third and he also set up Bill Guerin's power-play goal and the three Malkin power-play goals.
"You never really felt comfortable," Crosby said. "It was a shootout and not an easy one for the goalies.
"Those nights are great for the power play's confidence. We did a lot of good things to have success, but we know we've got to work on it."
Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis left the ice with a towel held to his face after being rammed into the boards by defenceman Andy Sutton with 2:55 remaining. Sutton drew a game misconduct. Dupuis was on the ice for several minutes after striking the rear boards face-first before getting up and walking to the Penguins dressing room, leaving a puddle of blood on the ice.
Penguins backup goaltender Brent Johnson, out for five games with an undisclosed injury that forced the Penguins to use an amateur goaltender during their 6-2 loss Saturday at Vancouver, made 31 saves during a sometimes shaky performance.
The Islanders, playing their second game in as many days after beating the Devils 4-0 with Rick DiPietro in goal on Monday, looked sluggish and a step slow at the start. But the Isles' fatigue apparently wore off after Freddy Meyer's first goal of the season started their comeback later in the second period.