Endgame: Penguins 5, Islanders 0
Monday, 11.21.2011 / 11:20 PM ET / News
By Kaitlin Zurawsky
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Everything you need to know from the Penguins' 5-0 blanking of the NY Islanders:
DOMINANCE ALL AROUND
The Penguins started scoring early against the Islanders and didn't stop ending the game with an impressive 5-0 shutout.
Tonight's win marks the sixth straight game won on home ice and the 13th straight home game that the Penguins have won against the Islanders. This stretch dates back to the 4-3 victory on Feb. 7, 2008 at Mellon Arena.
The Penguins have outscored the Islanders, 53-19, and outshot them, 402-365, during this streak that’s stretched over three years.
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury held off the Islanders for the shutout, marking the fourth time this has happened for the Penguins during their impressive tear against the Islanders.
It was a dominant all-around effort for the Penguins, energized by the return of their captain, Sidney Crosby, and the resulting frenzied crowd.
They peppered Islanders goaltender Anders Nilsson – making his first-career NHL start – with 36 shots, while killing off all five New York power plays and converting on one of their four man-advantages.
“We played a great game,” forward Chris Kunitz said. “Our D played great, blocked a lot of shots. Our PK was great. Our PP scored a goal for us. All around, it was a great game and it was great to have Sid back, our captain and our leader.”
FLEURY OF SAVES
Fleury came up big for the Penguins tonight with the shutout, his second of the season and 21st of his career.
He’s now one whitewashing shy of tying the franchise mark of 22, set by Tom Barrasso.
“It was definitely good to get a shutout tonight,” Fleury said. “The guys played very well in front and got a lot of big goals for me.”
The Islanders finished with 29 shots on goal, but Fleury was able to hold them off to earn his league-leading (tied) 11th win of the season.
The Islanders had good scoring opportunities, especially as the game wore on. But Fleury was always one step ahead, such as when he made a lightning-fast save against Michael Grabner in the third period – inspiring fans to start a "Fleury! Fleury!" chant.
"It was a lot of fun," Fleury said. "The atmosphere was very electric. It was just loud and fun."
He also stood tall through three Islanders power plays during the second half of the third period, where he had to come up with several key stops to keep New York off the board.
"He's always there for us," defenseman Kris Letang said of Fleury. "I don't think there's been one night this year when he was not ready for a game."
THE KID IS BACK
Sidney Crosby returned to the lineup tonight after missing 61straight games with a concussion, and it was like he was never gone.
The Penguins came out fighting against the New York Islanders playing to the energy of the crowd, who drowned out the PA announcer when he said Crosby's name.
The crowd, waving signs reading "Welcome back Sid," cheered loudly for their captain – filling the arena with noise which emanated a Stanley Cup playoff game.
And Crosby didn't disappoint, scoring on his first shot in his only 5:24 minutes into the game. One goal was not enough for the centerman who tallied another goal early in the third period after some impressive stick handling.
Crosby also tallied two assists, one coming on Brooks Orpik's goal late in the first period and the other on Evgeni Malkin's power-play tally early in the second period.
Zbynek Michalek's return to the Penguins lineup flew under the radar tonight, but after missing the last 10 games since Oct. 25 with a broken finger the blueliner is back.
"I felt pretty good considering all things," Michalek said. "I haven't had much practice time, but I felt good."
"I was getting tired by the end, but I expect it to get better and better."
Michalek's return brought one of the Penguins’ best penalty killers back to the roster. He logged 19:51 minutes, 4:31 of which he played shorthanded.
The Penguins penalty kill, ranked first in the NHL, continued to be successful tonight – warding off the Islander's five power-play opportunities. Michalek accounted for one blocked shot and three shots on goal during his time on the ice.
Author: Sam Kasan