The Pittsburgh Penguins (7-3-3) handily defeated the New York Islanders last night behind a solid performance from goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury saw 33 shots, including a few breakaway and odd-man-rush chances, but turned them all aside en route to his 20th career shutout. The 26-year-old netminder made a few huge saves in the opening minutes of the first and third periods, effectively keeping the Penguins in the game each time. Fleury was rightfully named the game’s number one star, and continues to show why the Penguins drafted him with the no. 1 overall selection in the 2003 NHL Draft.
Pittsburgh continues to receive great secondary scoring support with injuries to their primary players. Evgeni Malkin returned last night and was effective at certain points in the game, but didn’t record a point.
Instead, Pascal Dupuis scored a goal in the first period and added an assist for his seventh and eighth points of the season. Richard Park also scored for the Penguins, notching his second goal and sixth point in nine games this year.
Jordan Staal added an empty net goal for his sixth of the season to cap off a 3-0 Penguins victory.
Islanders goaltender and long-time Penguin-killer Evgeni Nabokov deserves some credit for stopping 26 of the 28 shots thrown his way, including all five by the NHL’s second-leading goalscorer James Neal.
– Matt Cooke took the NHL’s second diving penalty this season. The first was taken by Washington Capitals notable tough guy Alex Semin. Ha.
– Evgeni Malkin finished the game with an even rating and three shots on goal. He forced quite a few turnovers with hard backchecking and relentless puck chasing. He looked great in his 19:19 TOI for having missed so much time.
– Paul Martin led the team with 27:18 TOI. Kris Letang and Brook Orpik were the only other Penguins to play over 20 minutes.
– Dupuis, Staal, Letang, and Orpik were each +2 on the night.
– The Penguins were heavily outshot (23-15) through 40 minutes of play, but ended the game with 29 SOG to New York’s 33.
– Both teams were 0-2 on the power play.
The Penguins will now return to Pittsburgh to take on the Islanders on Thursday night in the second half of this home-and-home series.
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