By Katie Strang

 

Pittsburgh, PA—

 

The Islanders rolled into Mellon Arena last night soaring from a four-game winning streak and looking for their next victim. After obliterating Detroit one week prior, outlasting Buffalo in a white-knuckle eight-round shootout Saturday, and toppling New Jersey Monday night, the Islanders had the reigning Stanley Cup Champions in sight.

 

Coming off a five-game road streak, The Penguins had an answer for the Islanders high-flying confidence, however, embracing their return home with a 6-4 victory at Mellon Arena last night.

 

While the Islanders refused to quit and erased a three-goal deficit to pull even in the third period, the overpowering tandem of Pittsburgh princes Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby could not be stopped.

 

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With an empty-net power-play goal with 29.6 seconds remaining in regulation, Malkin scored his second hat trick of the season. Crosby was not too shabby, either, finishing with a season-high six points. Crosby scored twice and assisted on all four other Penguins goals.

 

The Penguins entered last night’s game with a 29th-ranked power play, but the unit showed no signs of difficulty last night, scoring four times against the Islanders. After giving up two power-play goals in the second, the true dagger came when they sacrificed the third—the go-ahead goal by Malkin at 11:05 in the third period that broke a 4-4 tie.

 

“Unfortunately, those penalties hurt us,” coach Scott Gordon said. “At the end of the day, the power play was the difference for them.”

 

Crosby began the goal-fest late in a chippy first period, crashing the net and lifting a puck past Roloson’s stick to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 18:37.

 

The Penguins broke out in the second period, scoring three goals, including two on the power play and their first 5-on-3 goal of the season on Malkin’s one timer at 3:40.

 

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Crosby and former Islander Bill Guerin also scored in the middle frame, but goals from defensemen Andy Sutton and Freddy Meyer held the Islanders in the game and whittled the Penguins lead in half.

 

Trailing 4-2 in the third, the Islanders pulled even. Trent Hunter's tallied 48 seconds into the third period with a crisp wrist shot, and Richard Park’s netted the equalizer at 7:11.

 

“It’s positive,” Roloson said of the Islanders’ comeback. “Any time you can battle back it’s great. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win."

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A lack of discipline combined with a struggling Islanders penalty kill allowed the Penguins to reclaim the lead.

 

After Kyle Okposo was whistled for tripping Craig Adams, Malkin scored his second of the night, a power-play goal at 11:05 that gave the Penguins a 5-4 edge.

 

The Penguins went 4-for-7 with the man-advantage last night as Malkin scored his second hat trick in less than a month with an empty-net power-play goal at 19:30.

 

The power play resulted as the Islanders saw their streak slip away and the game took an ugly turn.

 

Pascal Dupuis was left bloodied and had to be helped off the ice after Sutton smashed him into the end boards head-first at 17:05.

 

A visibly distraught Sutton, who played with Dupuis in Minnesota and Atlanta, received a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for the hit and said he felt horrible after the game.

 

“I feel awful,” Sutton said. “I obviously never intended for that to happen.”