The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders met for the third time this season on Sunday night, with the Penguins putting it to the Islanders, 6-1. Pittsburgh was led by their top line of Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, and Chris Kunitz, who combined for twelve points. To put that into some kind of perspective, the entire Islanders roster combined for three points.
Like most of the game would turn out to be, the first period was all Pittsburgh. A little over seven minutes into the period, Pascal Dupuis took a pass from Chris Kunitz and fired a shot at Evgeni Nabokov that somehow found its way into the net. The Penguins would later go on the power play after Brad Boyes tripped Tyler Kennedy. That would then turn into a two-man advantage after Travis Hamonic was called for cross-checking James Neal. The third-ranked power play took the ice and delivered when Kunitz continued his hot streak beating Nabokov to give Pittsburgh the 2-0 lead. Less than three minutes later, Kunitz would strike again, scoring off a pass from Neal. The Penguins would go into the locker rooms with a 3-0 lead, while dominating the Islanders in shots, 12-4.
The second period, which has not been nice to the Penguins this season, saw Pittsburgh have a hiccup when Brad Boyes put the Islanders on the board at 8:07 of the period, taking advantage of Simon Despres losing an edge and taking a spill on the play. That’s all the Islanders would score as Kunitz would complete the hat trick and make it rain sock monkeys at 13:34 to give him seventeen goals on the season. If you blinked after the sock money hat trick, then you missed Neal giving the Penguins a 5-1 lead on a breakaway less than twenty seconds later. As the second period ended, Pittsburgh held a 5-1 lead in a period that only saw them put five shots on net.
Before the start of the third period, Islanders coach Jack Capuano made the move to replace Nabokov with Kevin Poulin. Not much would change for New York as Dupuis would tally his second goal of the game to complete the 6-1 rout for Pittsburgh.
The Penguins stay home for their next game on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m./est) when they welcome the Boston Bruins for their first meeting this season. This could be considered the first real test the Penguins have faced this season.
-After the game, coach Dan Bylsma announced that Evgeni Malkin would miss the next 1-2 weeks with an upper body injury.
-Chris Kunitz is now in sole possession of the third spot in the race for the Art Ross trophy with thirty-six points, one point behind Steven Stamkos for second. Without a doubt, a career season for Kunitz.
-Mark Eaton had a very quiet, but outstanding game, putting up a plus-4 on the night.
1. Chris Kunitz (3 goals, 2 assists)
2. Sidney Crosby (5 assists)
3. Pascal Dupuis (2 goals)