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game recap

Penguins 7, Islanders 3

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM

Associated Press

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Penguins 7, Islanders 3
New York Islanders 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 7

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Sidney Crosby made certain the last regular-season game in the NHL's oldest arena would be remembered for more than a pregame celebration and a whole lot of nostalgic flashbacks.

Crosby took the NHL lead with his 49th goal - losing his 50th after the game - and became the third-youngest player in NHL history to reach the 500-point mark, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-3 rout of the New York Islanders on Thursday in the final regular-season game in Mellon Arena.

Leave it to Crosby to create a few more highlights before the building affectionately known as the Igloo shuts down.

This wasn't the final Penguins game there - the playoffs await the Stanley Cup champions - but it was one of the last in a building constructed six years before Pittsburgh was awarded an NHL expansion franchise.

The Penguins were visibly motivated by all the trappings of the evening, as Brooks Orpik scored only 23 seconds into the game, following a 20-minute pregame ceremony in which 50 former players, coaches and executives took to the ice under spotlights.

"Shaking hands with all those guys, it's a bit surreal to be on that bench and see the last home game, the last regular season game in the building," coach Dan Bylsma said. "Those guys and those memories, it was a special night."

Especially for Crosby.

"He kind of lives up to the moment, it seems like all the time," Orpik said. "It was just one of those nights where it seemed like he had that extra jump and he was going."

Crosby finished with four points, also assisting on a goal by Alex Goligoski and two by Bill Guerin, giving him 104 points for the season and 501 in his five-season career. The only players younger than Crosby (22 years, 244 days) to hit the 500-point mark faster were Wayne Gretzky (21 years, 52 days) and former Penguins star Mario Lemieux (22 years, 172 days).

"It's one of those numbers," Crosby said. "It's a nice accomplishment. You don't think about those things a lot."

As for the goal-scoring race, Alex Ovechkin of Washington and Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay have 48 goals each.

Crosby put the Penguins up 4-2 with a wrist shot from the right circle with 58 seconds left in a first period that led the Islanders to replace goalie Martin Biron with Dwayne Roloson. Biron gave up four goals on 10 shots.

"Four goals in the first period is a pretty hard road to come back on," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said.

The Penguins, coming off three consecutive sub-par performances in which they lost to Tampa Bay and Washington and beat Atlanta in overtime, added two more goals in the second by Tyler Kennedy and Guerin.

Crosby appeared to reach the 50-goal mark on a slap shot from the right point during a Penguins power play at 14:34 of the second. The Penguins delayed announcing the goal until play was stopped so Crosby could receive a louder ovation - and, in the interim, Kennedy scored 1:07 later to make it 6-3.

However, the goal was credited instead to Guerin following a post-game review, meaning Crosby must try for his 50th this weekend. Crosby did get his 500th career point on the play, an assist.

"I thought right away when I shot it, I thought it hit Billy's (Guerin) leg or hand. Obviously, I asked him right after and he said it did go off his pants," Crosby said. "It would have been great to be able to get it here, but at the end of the day goals go to guys that deserve them and he deserved that one."

Crosby and his teammates couldn't help but get caught up in the moment, meeting many of the former players during the morning skate. On the bench, the current players enjoyed watching videos of past highlights - and old team commercials - on the arena scoreboard during breaks in play.

"A lot of them (former players) were so excited to be here, it's kind of an excited family," Crosby said. "We've all played for this team and to share this night together and get a big win like we did, that's special, that's the way you want to remember it."

Oh, and there's a playoff race, too.

The Penguins have 99 points with two games remaining, the same as second-place New Jersey in the Eastern Conference, although the Devils own the tiebreaker. The Devils lost 3-2 to Florida. Pittsburgh plays Saturday at Atlanta and Sunday at the Islanders, while the Devils are at home Saturday against the Islanders and Sunday against the third-place Sabres.

Evgeni Malkin, returning after missing six of the previous seven games with a bruised right foot and an undisclosed illness, scored unassisted on a breakaway after intercepting a pass, putting Pittsburgh up 3-1 late in the first.

The Islanders, improved this season but still not playoff-ready, had won three in a row and five of six, but were fighting too much history and a revved-up Penguins team that is trying to build some momentum before the playoffs begin. Unlike last season, when they were 18-3-4 from mid-February on, the Penguins had lost five of eight and 12 of 22.

During the 20-minute pregame ceremony, Lemieux got the loudest ovation - of course - of all the former players, putting on his No. 66 jersey for one of the few times since his 2006 retirement. Among the other former players taking part were original Penguins Andy Bathgate and Les Binkley, former 50-goal scorer Pierre Larouche and Hall of Famers Bryan Trottier and Paul Coffey.

The team's first coach, Red Sullivan, and general manager, Jack Riley, also attended - Riley, at age 90, rarely misses a game.

NOTES: Pittsburgh scored the opening goal for the first time in nine games. ... Pittsburgh is 10-1-1 in its last 12 against the Islanders. ... Biron is 4-9-2 against Pittsburgh. ... Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury has won his last six starts at home against the Islanders. He made three stops in 3 seconds during a short-handed flurry in front of the net during the second period. ... Malkin has six goals against the Islanders this season.

scoring summary
1st Period
00:23
PIT
Brooks Orpik (2) ASST: Tyler Kennedy (12), Matt Cooke (15)
1 - 0 PIT
05:01
PIT
PPG - Alex Goligoski (8) ASST: Sidney Crosby (53), Sergei Gonchar (37)
2 - 0 PIT
08:29
NYI
PPG - Matt Moulson (28) ASST: Mark Streit (34), John Tavares (28)
2 - 1 PIT
15:15
PIT
Evgeni Malkin (26) ASST: NONE
3 - 1 PIT
17:08
NYI
Kyle Okposo (18) ASST: Jeff Tambellini (7), Freddy Meyer (10)
3 - 2 PIT
19:02
PIT
Sidney Crosby (49) ASST: Pascal Dupuis (18), Bill Guerin (24)
4 - 2 PIT
2nd Period
06:49
NYI
Josh Bailey (16) ASST: Mark Streit (35), Andrew MacDonald (6)
4 - 3 PIT
14:34
PIT
PPG - Bill Guerin (20) ASST: Sidney Crosby (54), Sergei Gonchar (38)
5 - 3 PIT
16:41
PIT
Tyler Kennedy (13) ASST: Jordan Staal (28), Mark Eaton (12)
6 - 3 PIT
3rd Period
01:46
PIT
Bill Guerin (21) ASST: Pascal Dupuis (19), Sidney Crosby (55)
7 - 3 PIT
penalty summary
1st Period
01:58
PIT
Evgeni Malkin  Roughing against  Tim Jackman
03:17
NYI
Andrew MacDonald  Hi-sticking against  Matt Cooke
06:04
NYI
Tim Jackman  Holding against  Alex Goligoski
07:14
PIT
Sidney Crosby  Interference against  Josh Bailey
10:20
PIT
Ruslan Fedotenko  Interference against  Freddy Meyer
18:17
NYI
Trevor Gillies  Fighting (maj) against  Mike Rupp
18:17
PIT
Mike Rupp  Fighting (maj) against  Trevor Gillies
2nd Period
02:38
NYI
Jon Sim  Tripping against  Brooks Orpik
14:22
NYI
Mark Streit  Slashing against  Evgeni Malkin
17:51
PIT
Kris Letang  Holding against  Greg Mauldin
3rd Period
03:01
PIT
Alexei Ponikarovsky  Boarding (maj) against  Josh Bailey
03:01
PIT
Alexei Ponikarovsky  Game misconduct
08:09
NYI
Jeff Tambellini  Slashing against  Pascal Dupuis
11:26
PIT
Marc-Andre Fleury  Tripping against  Jon Sim
13:53
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Roughing against  Tim Jackman
13:53
NYI
Tim Jackman  Roughing against  Brooks Orpik
19:19
NYI
Trevor Gillies  Roughing against  Kris Letang
19:43
PIT
Sidney Crosby  Interference against  Jack Hillen
goalie stats
Dwayne Roloson
Dwayne Roloson
SA: 25TOI: 39:59
Saves: 22EV: 17 - 19
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 5
SV%: .880SH: 1 - 1
Martin Biron
Martin Biron
9-13-4
SA: 10TOI: 20:00
Saves: 6EV: 4 - 7
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 3
SV%: .600SH: 0 - 0
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 35TOI: 60:00
Saves: 32EV: 20 - 22
PIM: 2PP: 9 - 10
SV%: .914SH: 3 - 3