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Crosby's point streak ends as Islanders best Pens in shootout

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Rick DiPietro and the New York Islanders snapped Sidney Crosby's 25-game point streak as the Isles beat the Penguins 2-1 in a shootout at the Nassau Coliseum. DiPietro saved 37 of 38 shots to earn the game's first star, allowing only Chris Conner's lone goal.

Islanders 2 - Penguins 1

Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y.

Sidney Crosby's 25-game point streak was snapped on Wednesday night, as the New York Islanders bested the Penguins 2-1 in a shootout victory at the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders, 29th in the NHL in team points and playing under interim coach Jack Capuano following Scott Gordon's November ouster, didn't figure to make the top-ranked Pens sweat. After all, Crosby had victimized the downtrodden Atlantic Division team more than any other in the game, with 62 career points. But goalie Rick DiPietro kept Crosby off the scoreboard and saved 37 of 38 shots to earn the game's first star. Chris Conner was the only Penguin to get one past DiPietro in regulation, while second star Josh Bailey scored on an otherwise excellent Marc-Andre Fleury, who got the game's third star.


A pair of former top overall draft picks, Fleury and DiPietro, stonewalled all would-be scorers in the first period. Fleury stopped 10 shots, while DiPietro's aching left knee looked fine as he denied Pittsburgh 12 times. The Pens and Islanders matched up well in terms of takeaways (four apiece), face offs won (8-7 Islanders), and even fights, as Craig Adams and Zenon Konopka grappled to a draw a little more than nine minutes into the period.

The Islanders jumped ahead 1-0 just 34 seconds into the second period. Bailey banged in a rebound off Fleury's pads after a Travis Hamonic slap shot. Fleury did a split and spread his arms to stop Bailey's shot, but the Islanders' 21-year-old center was in prime position to sneak one into the upper left corner of the net. While New York killed off a Pens power play opportunity following a Matt Martin boarding penalty, Pittsburgh got an even strength goal moments later. Tyler Kennedy zipped toward the Islanders' goal and got off a shot that DiPietro deflected with his glove. However, Conner was hovering around the left side of the net and evened the score off the bounce with 3:27 left in the period.

Pittsburgh's second-ranked penalty kill unit kept the Islanders scoreless during two power plays early in the third period. Shots were few and far between, as the Pens went over ten minutes into the period before getting one off. Pittsburgh then missed a golden opportunity to take the lead. DiPietro tried to clear the puck down the ice but barely made contact with it, shuffling the puck toward Kennedy, whose wrist shot went wide of an open net. The Pens had another chance to take control, getting a penalty shot after Bruno Gervais closed his hand on the puck in the crease with 7:01 left. However, DiPietro shooed away Kris Letang's backhand attempt during the one-on-one showdown.

In the overtime period, New York got called for too many men on the ice, giving Pittsburgh a 4-on-3 advantage with 1:14 remaining. With the Pens keeping the puck in the Islanders' end the entire time, DiPietro made several key saves. A frustrated Chris Kunitz shoved DiPietro after the whistle, setting off a scrap involving Frans Nielsen with 10.4 seconds left in OT. Pittsburgh won the ensuing face off, but New York cleared the puck to send the game into a shootout.

Rob Schremp and Nielsen beat Fleury in the shootout, with Letang and Evgeni Malkin getting pucks past DiPietro. Sidney Crosby and John Tavares were stopped cold on their shootout tries. P.A. Parenteau then bested Fleury with a wrist shot and Mark Letestu couldn't match him, giving the Islanders a surprise win over the NHL's leader in team points.


Goals: PENS- Conner (4); NYI- Bailey (6)

Assists: PENS- Kennedy, NYI- Hamonic.


Fleury stopped 25 of 26 Islanders shots through overtime (a .962 save percentage), though he allowed Schremp, Nielsen and Parenteau to score in the shootout. DiPietro, making his 15th start of the 2010-2011 season after scarcely playing in recent years due to hip and knee injuries, was even better. He put up a .974 save percentage through overtime.


At 1 p.m. on New Year's Day, the Pens will play host to the Southeast Division-leading Washington Capitals at Heinz Field in the 4th annual NHL Winter Classic.

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