Winless in two games with only four goals since their leading scorer sustained a knee injury, the Islanders busted out in a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
Viktor Kozlov and Mike Sillinger each had two goals and Miroslav Satan scored his 300th career goal for New York, who will be without Yashin for up to a month.
“It shows that we are still able to score,” Satan said. “I hope we can repeat it again and again. It’s definitely a good feeling that you can score five goals.”
Sidney Crosby and Ryan Whitney each had two assists for the Penguins, who have lost five of six and blew a lead for the second consecutive night.
Radek Martinek and former Penguins forward Andy Hilbert each had two assists for the Islanders, who are 13-0-1 when leading after two periods.
“It’s good that all the guys got some confidence without Alexei,” Kozlov said. “Of course we miss him, he’s our leader, but he’s injured right now, so it was a good team win.”
Satan scored the game’s first goal, his sixth, on a power play 3:38 in. The goal, which also represented his 600th NHL point, came on a one-timed slap shot from the right circle on a pass from defenceman Tom Poti.
“I’m glad it’s behind me and I don’t have to talk about it anymore,” Satan said through a smile.
The Penguins tied it with a power-play goal of their own less than five minutes later. Crosby carried the puck into the zone and deked a few times – causing goalie Rick DiPietro to fall. From behind the goal line, Crosby fed Colby Armstrong in the slot for a shot into an open net.
After failing to score all season, Armstrong has three goals in three games, all against the Islanders.
Erik Christensen gave Pittsburgh the lead with his second goal in two games. Christensen used a screen of three New York defenders to flip a wrist shot past DiPietro, who appeared not to see the puck.
“We had a good start, but we lost focus in the second period,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “We made some crucial mistakes.”
New York tied it three minutes into the second when Kozlov scored during a 4-on-4 situation. Kozlov banged in a rebound of Hilbert’s shot from a bad angle. It was Kozlov’s sixth goal of the season and it extended his point streak to three games.
Sillinger, who didn’t score in 13 November games, gave the Islanders the lead midway through the second with a power-play goal. He was standing to the left of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and took a pass from Poti. Sillinger’s sixth goal came moments after Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal had a short-handed scoring opportunity, but was hauled down on his way to the net.
Kozlov earned an assist on the play, posting his first three-point game since Nov. 25, 2005, against Tampa Bay. New York carried a 3-2 lead into the third.
“That’s something good teams don’t do (blow third-period leads). If you want to make the playoffs in this league, you’ve got to hold on to third period leads,” Kozlov said.
Kozlov scored his second midway through the third on a wrist shot off a pass from Hilbert – more than enough insurance with New York killing all three third-period power plays.
After scoring on two of their first three power plays, the Penguins – who lost to the New Jersey Devils on Friday – didn’t score on their final six tries with the man advantage.
“We had a lot of opportunities, but I don’t think we played very well as a team and that’s where guys are most disappointed,” forward Mark Recchi said. “We had an opportunity these last two days to really take a big step in this division and we took a step backwards.”
Recchi pulled Pittsburgh within 4-3 when he finished a passing sequence from Crosby and Whitney with 4:52 to play. But Sillinger sealed the Islanders’ win when he scored on a 3-on-2 with 2:35 left.
“We didn’t give up and I thought we came out pretty good in the third,” Crosby said. “But we weren’t able to get that next one to tie the game.”
Notes: This was the third meeting between the teams in nine days. The Islanders defeated the Penguins 3-1 the day after Thanksgiving on Long Island and Pittsburgh beat New York 3-2 on Tuesday. … Fleury earned an assist on Christensen’s goal, his first of the season and second of his career. … Kozlov had two goals in an opening-night loss to Phoenix but only three in 23 games since.