The Pittsburgh Penguins win in blowout fashion over the New York Islanders as Evgeni Malkin sits due to what looked to be a shoulder injury Saturday against the Maple Leafs. Sidney Crosby led the Penguins to a 6-1 victory Sunday by tying a career high with five assists.
Chris Kunitz scored his second hat trick of the season and also added two assists for five points and the first star of the game. Pascal Dupuis finished with two goals on the night and Kris Letang dished out two assists.
Tomas Vokoun got the start in net for the Penguins,and played quite well stopping 23 of 24 shots in the win. Chris Kunitz and James Neal scored 16 seconds apart late in the second period to take a 5-1 lead over the Islanders, killing any chance of a comeback.
Evgeni Nabokov looked helpless in net before being pulled after two periods. Nabokov gave up five goals on 17 shots before being replaced by backup Kevin Poulin.
Poulin was much better in a quiet third period, stopping 10 of 11 shots. Brad Boyes scored the only Islanders goal early in the second period. Boyes took advantage when Penguins defenseman Simon Despres slipped while trying to clear the zone.
The New York Islanders started slow this season but have picked up their play of late. The Islanders are led by center John Tavares who is tied for eighth in the NHL with 29 points. They currently hold the 10th position in the Eastern Conference with a modest 11-12-3 record.
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma announced after the win that Evgeni Malkin will miss one-to-two weeks with an upper-body injury. Malkin took a big hit against the boards Saturday night from James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Penguins played great without Malkin Sunday on the way to their fifth straight win. Pittsburgh will have to play even better over the next two weeks without him as three of their next five games are against teams in the top five of the Eastern Conference.
Crosby and company have been getting better each day, and it showed Sunday against the Islanders. The Penguins outplayed the Islanders from start to finish and will utilize the day off Monday before taking on the Boston Bruins Tuesday.
The Evgeni Malkin setback is never good to hear for Penguins fans, but it couldn’t have came at a better time. The Penguins win and are playing their best hockey of the season as the playoffs are just around the corner.