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Gonchar scores OT winner, Crosby and Malkin shine in Pens' 4-3 win over Isles

Crosby broke out of a mini-slump Thursday night with three assists, and defenceman Sergei Gonchar scored Pittsburgh's third power-play goal 3:33 into overtime to lift the Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night. Trailing 3-2 in the third period, Pittsburgh used the tandem of Crosby to Malkin to get even and set the stage for Gonchar.

Crosby dug the puck out from behind the net and found Malkin with a pass near the right post. Malkin wasted no time in knocking a shot past surprised goalie Mike Dunham to tie it at 8:08 of the third period.

That gave Malkin two goals in two NHL games in two nights.

"I just went low on the forecheck, and he went to the net," Crosby said. "As soon as I turned around, he was there."

Islanders captain Alexei Yashin was enjoying a three-point night, but was in the penalty box for hooking Crosby when Gonchar took a pass from Ryan Whitney and ripped a shot in off the right post.

Yashin was icing his hand in the box after Crosby nailed him with a slash that went uncalled. The hook followed right after.

"I think for a world class player, for a guy of his calibre, he's diving every time someone touches him," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "No question in my mind, he should have been called for a slash before Yashin had a chance to hook him.

"I'm not saying Yashin's wasn't a penalty, I'm just saying there should have been a penalty before. If Yashin maybe acted like Crosby and dove, maybe he would have gotten that call."

Pittsburgh went 3-for-8 on the power play, using the advantage to take a 2-0 lead and then to win after falling behind in the second period. The Penguins (3-3) needed to rally to snap a two-game losing streak.

Avoiding a shootout was also a plus for the Penguins, who dropped four last season to the Islanders.

"We got to overtime, and got the job done," Whitney said. "I'm glad not to go to a shootout against them."

After the Islanders fell behind 2-0 early in the second, Yashin scored his third of the season with 4:17 left to cut the deficit in half. He then earned the primary assists on power-play goals by Mike Sillinger and Jason Blake 1:09 apart.

But it wasn't enough to give Dunham his third win in four starts in place of Rick DiPietro, who is nursing a groin injury. DiPietro, in the first month of a 15-year contract with New York, sat on the bench but is still a few days away from game action.

Dunham made 32 saves to earn a point for the Islanders and has been solid during DiPietro's absence.

"They got some breaks in overtime that they shouldn't have gotten, and that was the game," Dunham said.

The 34-year-old journeyman, in his first season with the Islanders, allowed four goals on 50 shots at Anaheim on Oct. 11 to give New York its first win of the season after DiPietro lost three straight. Dunham made 31 saves in beating Boston three nights later in the home opener, before dropping a 2-1 shootout decision to Nashville on Monday night.

Michel Ouellet gave Pittsburgh the lead 8:24 into the game with a power-play goal, set up by Crosby and Malkin. Nils Ekman netted the Penguins' seventh man-advantage goal in 31 chances this season at 4:55 of the second.

Malkin, the 20-year-old Russian selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2004 draft, scored his first NHL goal in a 2-1 home loss to New Jersey on Wednesday. Crosby, the first overall choice in last year's draft, snapped a two-game pointless streak.

Yashin started the New York comeback by finishing off a give-and-go passing play with Viktor Kozlov. Yashin took the return feed and fired into the open left side of the net before Marc-Andre Fleury could slide across.

Sillinger tied it 1:40 later with a quick shot that hit the glove of Fleury, popped up and fell behind the goalie before he could get it.

New York then grabbed a 3-2 lead when Blake got hold of the puck in the crease, after it pinballed between his skate and Fleury, and knocked it in with 1:28 left in the second period.

"Our guys came back strong in the third period," Fleury said. "It was nice to see us tie it up."

Notes: Fleury has started six straight games, a career high for the third-year goalie. He made 34 saves. ... Crosby had six goals and 14 points in eight games against the Islanders during his rookie season. ... DiPietro hasn't played since allowing four goals on 40 shots on Oct. 10 at Los Angeles.



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