Pens send Isles to 6th straight loss

February 7, 2008 7:38:50 PM PST
Ryan Whitney had two goals and Kris Letang scored the game-winner with 3:39 to play as the Pittsburgh Penguins handed the New York Islanders their sixth consecutive loss, 3-2, Thursday night.Evgeni Malkin had three assists and Ryan Malone also scored for the Penguins, who have gained at least a point in four of their past five and tied Philadelphia for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Mike Comrie had two goals and Frederick Meyer two assists for the Islanders, who scored more than two goals for the first time in six games.

Each team was 2-for-3 on the power play.

Skating down the right boards, Letang flipped a wrist shot that appeared to deflect off a defenseman's stick and went over Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro's left shoulder.

The Islanders got the first goal 4:31 into the first with a fluky goal when Penguins goalie Ty Conklin misplayed the puck on a clearing attempt in the left-wing corner. Conklin let the puck get past him as he stood just in front of the goal line.

NHL rules dictate that a goalie cannot play the puck outside the trapezoid behind his goal line, so Conklin watched helplessly as Andy Hilbert collected the puck and fed Comrie for his 15th goal of the season. Comrie's goal, his first in 10 games, was his 300th NHL point.

The Islanders entered the game 17-2-4 when scoring first, but the Penguins negated that less than 5 minutes later with their first power play. Seconds after DiPietro stopped Ryan Malone's open shot, Whitney scored his 10th goal of the season after some crisp passing by Malkin and Sykora.

Malone gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead early in the second period when he deflected a Whitney shot from the point out of mid-air and between the pads of DiPietro. Malkin, who won only five of 21 faceoffs three nights earlier in a loss at New Jersey, won a faceoff cleanly to begin the play.

But the Islanders, who scored again 4 minutes later when Ruslan Fedotenko beat Conklin glove side while standing in the right slot and taking a feed from Trent Hunter while on the power play for his ninth of the season.

Whitney's second came 11:33 into the second when he converted a pass from Malkin, backhanding it past DiPietro to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead.

Comrie's second tied it midway through the third during a power play. With Richard Park stickhandling behind the net, Conklin shuffled back and forth on his knees. Park fed Comrie, who was along the goal line near the left-wing boards, and Comrie flipped a wrist shot up over Conklin's right shoulder.

Malkin broke a tie with teammate Sidney Crosby for ninth place in the NHL scoring race - Crosby has missed the past eight games with a high ankle sprain - and has 66 points, seven behind league leader Alexander Ovechkin of Washington. He has eight points in his past three games.