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Pens edge Isles on late Crosby goal

Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Sidney Crosby's goal with 1:16 remaining lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to their third straight win, a 4-3 decision over the New York Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center.

Chris Kunitz helped set up Crosby's game-winner after potting a pair of power- play goals in the first period, while Evgeni Malkin halted a career-long stretch of 15 straight games without a goal by scoring once and assisting on another for the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins.

Crosby added an assist as well in support of a 32-save effort between the pipes from Jeff Zatkoff.

Thomas Vanek returned from an upper-body injury to record two goals in the loss, the Islanders' sixth straight on the road in regulation, with Kevin Poulin finishing with 30 saves.

The teams had battled to a 3-3 deadlock through two periods, and the score remained that way deep into the third until the Penguins came up with the clincher.

Kunitz chipped the puck into the Islanders' zone and then beat defenseman Radek Martinek to it before sending the disc over to teammate Pascal Dupuis, who alertly fired a pass from behind the New York net to an uncovered Crosby for a shot in which Poulin had little chance to defend.

Poulin had kept it tied moments earlier, stoning Malkin on a breakaway with just over five minutes to go in regulation.

"He made the saves that he had to," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said of Poulin. "He gave us a chance to win, but unfortunately we left a guy alone in front of the net with 1:16 to go."

Kunitz was the unquestioned star of the opening period, accounting for the frame's lone two goals and also tallying a third that was negated by a Pittsburgh penalty.

The Penguins capitalized on an early New York infraction to gain the upper hand, as Kunitz tapped in Crosby's centering pass while left open on the left side of the Islanders' net just 4:04 into the contest.

Kunitz struck again less than four minutes later on another Pittsburgh power play to extend the margin to 2-0. Malkin knocked New York's Frans Nielsen off the puck to begin a Penguins' rush that ended when Kunitz rocketed a shot past Poulin after taking a feed from James Neal in transition.

A natural hat trick for Kunitz was denied when Malkin was sent off for a high stick just as his linemate scored once more 1:10 prior to the first intermission.

The Islanders came out strong after the break, however, and cut the deficit to 2-1 when Vanek one-timed a quick pass from Kyle Okposo home while stationed in the right slot with 1:46 elapsed in the second period.

Malkin restored Pittsburgh's two-goal advantage not long afterward, though, finishing off a well-executed give-and-go with Neal by sliding the puck under Poulin's pads for the star forward's first marker since Oct. 17.

"We were really happy for [Malkin]," Crosby said. "He had a ton of chances the last little while and we knew it was a matter of time."

New York then lit the lamp twice within a span of 81 seconds later in the session to draw even.

Colin McDonald whipped a wrister by Zatkoff with 8:27 left in the second to get the Islanders within one, and Vanek knocked in a puck thrown in front of the net by Okposo with Zatkoff out of position to forge a 3-3 tie.

Game Notes

The goal was the 250th of Crosby's career, and he has now notched one in three straight games after scoring just once over Pittsburgh's previous 10 outings ... Vanek had missed New York's last five games after exiting a Nov. 9 matchup at Columbus in the opening minute with the injury ... Malkin has compiled an NHL-best 13 assists in November and the Penguins moved to 7-0-0 this season when he totals two or more points ... The Islanders went 0-for-6 on the power play, giving Pittsburgh successful kills in 30-of-31 shorthanded situations over an 11-game span ... New York fell to 2-10-2 when allowing at least one power-play goal ... The Islanders have lost in 16 of their last 19 regular-season visits to Pittsburgh, though they did record a 4-3 decision in the Steel City back on Oct. 25.

11/22 23:40:29 ET

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Philadelphia1Final | Box
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Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. New York leads series, 1-0.
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Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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