The Pittsburgh Penguins emerged from the NHL’s three-day holiday break with a resounding 7-0 victory over the usually defensively strong New York Islanders at UBS Arena on Wednesday.
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang led the attack with six assists and became the first defenseman in the 106-year history of the NHL to record five points in a single period (during the second period).
“It’s an incredible accomplishment when you think about it,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told the Associated Press in Elmont, New York. “Especially in today’s game where the parity in the league is so high. Against a good team like the Islanders, that’s not an easy thing to do. We couldn’t be happier for him. C He’s obviously an elite player for us.
In his league-best fourth shutout of the season, goaltender Tristan Jarry stopped 22 shots, improving his record to 10-11-2.
This victory ended a four-game losing streak against the Islanders (0-3-1)
After a scoreless first period in which the teams combined for nine shots, the Penguins scored a touchdown during the second period starting at 6:44.
Making a pass to the right spot in the offensive zone, Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson hit a one-timer into the cage that forward Jake Guentzel, stationed at right, redirected toward the net with the forehand of the blade. his stick. After goaltender Ilya Sorokin made the initial save, the puck trickled behind him into the crease. From the left of the crease, Rakell fired a forehand as the referee’s quick whistle sounded. Officials immediately ruled out the goal but quickly reviewed the video to review the sequence. After a brief audit, officials awarded Rakell his second goal of the season. Guentzel and Pettersson had assists.
Guentzel scored his 15th goal at 10:15.
After a cross-ice pass, Letang made his way from the right wing boards of the offensive zone and launched a wrist shot from the half-wall. Positioned directly in front of Sorokin, Guentzel redirected the puck towards the goalie’s glove on the near side. Letang and Pettersson had assists.
Barely 12 seconds passed before Guentzel scored again.
On the ensuing faceoff, Jarry gathered a player behind his cage and left it to Letang, who completed a pass toward the left wall. Turning his attention to the ice, Rakell spotted Guentzel sprinting forward and fired a wide pass, propelling his teammate on a breakaway. While attacking the cage, Guentzel tore a wrist near Sorokin’s sizzling glove. Rakell and Letang recorded assists.
Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin entered the action with his 12th goal at 12:48.
After a back-and-forth sequence, Malkin threw a pass from the right point of the offensive zone to teammate Reilly Smith low in the right circle. Moving back a bit to the right half-wall, Smith waited for Malkin to drop into the slot and slipped a pass to him, allowing Malkin to lift a wrist shot between the marks of Sorokin’s blocker. The assists went to Smith and Letang.
Malkin scored again at 16:06.
Collecting a loose puck in the high slot of the offensive zone, Letang pushed the play into the left circle. Avoiding a poor sliding block attempt from Islanders defenseman Mike Reilly, Letang slipped a nifty backhand pass into the middle of the blue paint. Establishing his position on Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho, Malkin easily fired a forehand into an empty net. Once again, Letang and Pettersson had assists.
Forward Radim Zohorna scored the fourth goal of the season and first in 21 games at 17:13.
After placing a loose puck in his left corner, Letang completed a pass in the near circle to Penguins rookie forward Valtteri Puustinen, who initiated a two-on-one rush with Zohorna against Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov. Gaining the Islanders zone on the right wing, Puustinen drove deep into the right circle and forced a pass to Zohorna. Romanov slipped on the ice and managed to get his stick on the puck, only to deflect it towards the net. Sorokin managed to keep the puck out with his left leg, but couldn’t resist a persistent Zohorna, who threw a backhand. Puustinen and Letang claimed assists.
After Sorokin was pulled – perhaps for humanitarian reasons – to open the third period and replaced by Semyon Varlamov, Puustinen scored his first career goal at 9:48 of the final period.
Recovering a loose puck in the center of the offensive zone, Pettersson faked a one-timer then coolly slipped a pass to the right point for Letang. Weighing his options, Letang slipped a pass into the left circle where Puustinen found himself and hit a one-timer off Varlamov’s blocker on the near side. Letang and Pettersson had assists.
“After a break, the first half is always ugly,” Letang told the Associated Press. “Afterwards, once the legs are moving, the hands come back, we took advantage of it offensively, playing in their zone, putting pucks on the net. … When you come back and you’re close to winning a game against a division rival like this and someone you’re chasing, it’s huge.
• Letang tied the NHL record for assists in a single game by a defenseman. He is also the second defenseman to reach the mark with the Penguins, joining Ron Stackhouse:
• Letang also tied the franchise record for assists in a game (regardless of position):
-Although Letang tied the record for assists in a period by a defender, he simply tied the record for assists in a period by any player, regardless of position. Hockey Hall of Fame forward Dale Hawerchuk first scored for the Winnipeg Jets in the second period of a 7-3 road victory over the Los Angeles Kings on March 6, 1984 .
• The NHL record for assists in a game is seven, shared by NHL legend Wayne Gretzky (three times) and Chicago Black Hawks forward Billy Taylor Sr. (who originally set the record in 1947).
• The iconic Mario Lemieux holds the franchise record for points in a game, having scored eight on two occasions. Each arrived during the 1988-89 season.
• The Penguins’ most recent shutout against the Islanders was a 1-0 road win on Nov. 26, 2021. Jarry made 25 saves in that game.
• Pettersson set a new career high with four points.
• Pettersson (107 points) passed forward Craig Simpson (105), defenseman Duane Rupp (104), forward Andy Bathgate (103) and defenseman Dick Tarnstrom (103) for 87th place on the scoring list in the franchise’s career.
• Passing Tarnstrom, Pettersson became the career points leader by a Swedish defenseman in franchise history. The only Swedes – regardless of position – who have more points with the Penguins are former forwards Patric Hornqvist (264) and Tomas Sandstrom (155).
• Puustinen became the 563rd player to score a regular season goal for the Penguins.
• The Penguins were 2 for 2 on the penalty kill. They are 11-for-11 in their last four games since forward Noel Acciari and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel returned to the lineup after recovering from undisclosed injuries.
• Penguins forward Vinnie Hinostroza and defenseman PO Joseph were left out.
• Three of the Islanders’ top six defensemen — Scott Mayfield, Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock — missed the game with undisclosed injuries.
Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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