The Pittsburgh Penguins got a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday, despite Sidney Crosby only tallying an assists and Evgeni Malkin being held off the stat sheet. It is a big relief for the Penguins to see other players step up, as secondary scoring will be vital to the team’s success this season.
James Neal got his sixth goal to start things off, and is now tied with Chris Kunitz for the team lead in goals scored. Youngster Simon Despres got his second goal of the season, and just the third of his career. The team’s third goal came from Brandon Sutter, who came to the Penguins in a trade that sent Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes. Sutter now has two goals on the season, while Staal has managed just one in Carolina. Pascal Dupuis added the final goal as the Penguins avenged a 4-1 loss to the Islanders on Jan. 29.
Crosby and Malkin continue to lead the way offensively for the 7-2 Penguins. Crosby has four goals while Malkin has two, but they each have 10 assists – perhaps a sign that they have embraced more of a set-up role with the team. Kris Letang and Paul Martin continue to contribute from the defensive end of the ice, and the emergence of 2009 first round pick Despres has been a great sign for the team moving forward.
The Penguins have an ever-dangerous amount of star power, and if they continue to get contributions from their role players as well, they will very easily make the playoffs. Marc-Andre Fleury seems to have shaken off a 2-2 start to the season, which is good news for the Penguins and bad news for the rest of the Eastern Conference.