Kennedy’s 3-Points Powers Pens Past Isles 3-2

The Pittsburgh Penguins stopped a 2-game slide as they beat the New York Islanders by a score of 3-2 on Saturday night at the Nassau Colliseum, to pull within 3-points of the division leading Devils.  The Penguins who were playing without Marc-Andre Fleury (high ankle sprain), Sergei Gonchar (Flu), Max Talbot (high ankle sprain), and Erik Christensen (sore neck), outshot the Islanders 40-29 in the win.  Dany Sabourin was very strong in net for the Penguins, making 27 saves on 29 shots.   

In the first period, Sidney Crosby scored his 1st goal in 8-games at 2:48 on a botched play by defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron and goaltender Rick DiPietro.  Bergeron attempted to pass the puck behind the net, but hit the side of the cage instead.  Both Bergeron and DiPietro collided as they tried to play the mishandled puck, but gave it up to Tyler Kennedy who passed it to Crosby in the slot who put it into the open net.  “It feels good,” Crosby said. “You never take anything for granted. When you don’t get one for a few games, you just keep working hard to create your chances, but it’s nice to get one like that.”  Just 4-minutes later, Ryan Whitey added a goal to put the Penguins up 2-0 early in the game.  After hitting the post, Whitney got the puck back from Brooks Orpik and Tyler Kennedy and put a wrist shot through the open pads of a screened DiPietro.  At 14:21, Gary Roberts and Andy Sutton had a tussle that ended in 5-minute fighting majors for both, with Roberts maintaining the upper hand.  The Penguins outshot the Islanders 15-7 in the first, and were 0 for 2 on the power play.

In the second, the Islanders put in two quick goals to tie the game at 2.  The first came at 4:57 on the power play from Richard Park after Rob Scuderi took a call for cross-checking.  The play was assisted by Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin.  The penalty was served by Petr Sykora, however, as Scuderi had been hurt whil blocking a shot on the play.  Scuderi left the ice at the stoppage in play and did not return to the game.  The second Islanders goal came at 5:42 from Josef Vasicek, with assists by Miroslav Satan and Sean Bergenheim.  The Penguins broke the tie on the power play at 14:16 as Tyler Kennedy feasted on a rebound off from a Jordan Staal side of the net scrum.  “(Jordan Staal) made a great play to the net,” Kennedy said. “I made a power move to the net. I just sat on the back side waiting for it, and it came right out to me.”  Kris Letang also picked up an assist on the play.  The goal for Kennedy capped a 3-point night for the rookie (1G, 2A), who got to spend several shifts on the ice with Sidney Crosby and was named 1st star of the game.  “I like the way this kid plays,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “I wanted to wait to put him with Crosby because I didn’t want him to get nervous. But then I decided to put them together on the second shift, and he was playing well.”  The Penguins outshot the Islanders 16-11 in the 2nd and were 1 for 3 on the powerplay. 

There was no scoring in the third, but with 6-minutes to go in the game the Penguins got a 5-minute man advantage after forward Chris Simon took a match penalty for stomping on Jarkko Ruutu’s foot with with his skate along the boards.  The infraction was called as an attempt to injure, which will be reviewed by the league for potential suspension action.  Despite having the man advantage, the Penguins played very passively and nearly gave up a short-handed goal to the Islanders.  Fortunately, Dany Sabourin was able to keep the puck out of the net to maintain the win. 

The Penguins travel to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday to take on division rival New York Rangers. 

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