Pens embarrass Islanders, 9-2

December 11, 2008 7:47:17 PM PST
Petr Sykora ended the longest streak in NHL history without a hat trick by a player who had at least two goals in a game, scoring three times to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins' 9-2 rout of the New York Islanders on Thursday night. Pascal Dupuis also had his first career three-goal game, Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, and Sidney Crosby set up three goals in Pittsburgh's first nine-goal game since beating the Flyers 9-4 on Feb. 7, 2001. Pittsburgh had lost its previous three. The Islanders dropped their season-high fifth in a row and allowed nine goals for the first time since Dec. 19, 2005 against Toronto.

Sykora previously had 38 games with two goals without getting a third, far surpassing the 28 games by Hall of Fame defenseman Larry Murphy, who played for the Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

It was the seventh time in Penguins history that two players had hat tricks in a game and the first since Mario Lemieux and Joey Mullen accomplished it April 9, 1993, against the Rangers.

Sykora put Pittsburgh ahead 3-1 by scoring 19 seconds after Mark Streit's goal for the Islanders briefly cut Pittsburgh's lead to one goal, then followed goals by Philippe Boucher and Malkin by scoring at 7:53 of the second on a power play to make it 6-1.

With his teammates pressing to get him the long-elusive third goal, Sykora thought he had it two minutes later when he appeared to score from the side of the net, only to have the goal waved off because play was stopped a fraction of a second before. Sykora could be seen telling a teammate he couldn't believe the goal didn't count, and the sellout crowd booed loudly.

Sykora finally got No. 3 at 15:42 of the second, also on a power play, when Crosby put a pass on his stick in the slot and Sykora wristed it by goalie Yann Danis, who replaced Joey MacDonald to begin the second period.

Sykora leaped into Crosby's arms to celebrate, triggering a brief delay in play to clear the scores of hats that were tossed onto the ice. It was his 10th goal of the season.

Dupuis' third, and sixth of the season, came with 3:12 remaining. He had scored twice in a game three other times.

The one-sided game was welcomed by the Penguins, who were playing their third game in four nights and their seventh in 11 days. They had dropped three in a row, their longest losing streak since they lost four straight from Nov. 7-12, 2007, but began pulling away when former Islanders forward Miroslav Satan made it 2-0 by scoring with 16 seconds left in a 2-man advantage at 13:49 of the first.

Penguins rookie John Curry stopped 24 shots to get the victory in his second career start. His only two career victories in three NHL games are against the Islanders. Curry beat them in relief on Nov. 26.