Penguins win 11th straight
Uniondale, NY – Brandon Sutter scored the winner early in the third period and the Pittsburgh Penguins ran their winning streak to 11 games with a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders on Friday.
Pittsburgh matched the longest winning streak by a team this season as the team tied Chicago's 11-game run earlier in the shortened campaign.
The Penguins are the first team in NHL history to win at least 10 games in a row for three consecutive seasons. The team went on an 11-game run from Feb. 21-March 17 of last season and won 12 in a row from Nov. 17-Dec. 11, 2010.
Pittsburgh now has a three-point lead over Montreal for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and trails Chicago by three points for first overall in the NHL.
Pascal Dupuis had a goal and an assist, while Chris Kunitz and Joe Vitale also scored for Pittsburgh, which got 33 saves from Tomas Vokoun.
Mark Streit and Josh Bailey scored for the Islanders, who have dropped three straight. Evgeni Nabokov gave up three goals on 24 shots.
"This was a tough one because I thought we really played one of our best hockey games," said New York head coach Jack Capuano. "That's a good hockey team over there and we hung with them the whole time. One little mistake and it cost us the game."
With the score tied in the third period, Sutter gave the Pens the advantage just 1:46 in as Matt Cooke skated down the right wing and from down low he dished a backhander across the net where an uncovered Sutter tapped it in.
New York was given a pair of power plays later in the frame, but was unable to take advantage, and Dupuis' empty-netter just before the final buzzer capped the scoring.
"We bended, but didn't break," said Vokoun. "That's been the team here lately, we've been down a couple games and came back in the third."
The Islanders scored the only goal of the first period as Frans Nielsen won a left circle faceoff back to Matt Carkner, who fed it over to the high slot where Streit blasted it home.
Pittsburgh tied the game 8:11 into the second period as Craig Adams dished the puck off from the left point to a skating Vitale, who snapped a wrister from the left circle over the glove of Nabokov for his second goal of the year.
New York took the lead back with 2:42 to play in the middle stanza after the Pens wasted a couple of chances to clear the puck and Bailey flung in a rebound from in front.
The Penguins, though, tied the game with just 14 seconds left in the frame as Kunitz's wrister from the slot went between the pads of Nabokov for his 19th goal of the season.
Kunitz trails Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the NHL's goal lead by two ... Pittsburgh was still without center Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang. Malkin has been out since suffering an upper-body injury against Toronto on March 9, while Letang missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. Also, forward Tyler Kennedy missed the game with an illness ... Pittsburgh won three of four from the Islanders this season ... Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power play.