Crosby’s 4 points lead Penguins past Islanders
Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins bounced back quickly from a disappointing defeat at home.
Crosby had a goal and three assists, Tristan Jarry stopped 31 shots for his second shutout and Pittsburgh beat the New York Islanders 4-0 Friday night.
Daniel Sprong had two goals and an assist, Evgeni Malkin also scored and Dominik Simon added two assists for the Penguins, who had dropped four of six and were coming off a 4-0 loss to Carolina on Thursday night.
“We had a quick turnaround and that was fresh in our minds. I thought we responded well,” Crosby said. “It felt like we were all more on the same page. ... We knew how important this game was and we came in here and had a strong game.”
The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions pulled within one point of the Hurricanes for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
“As you get closer to the playoffs, the games get tighter and the stakes get higher,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “We’ve got to have a playoff mindset right now and I thought we had that tonight.”
With the Penguins ahead 3-0, Jarry stopped a slap shot by Ryan Pulock two minutes into the third period, and then another attempt by the forward from the inside edge of the right circle 90 seconds later.
Jarry also denied a tip by Jordan Eberle a little more than 51/2 minutes in and a try in front by Brock Nelson 20 seconds later.
Jarry, who improved to 7-3-2 with a 2.17 goals-against average in 14 games this season, was pleased with the way he played after leaving with a wrist injury late in the second period of the Penguins’ 5-1 win at Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
“I wanted to come back and have a good game. I think that helps a lot,” he said. “We had a couple of guys step up tonight. ... That’s huge to get offense throughout the whole team and have the whole team working.”
Sprong got his second goal with 61/2 minutes to go, beating Jaroslav Halak in the top left corner.
Halak finished with 31 saves as the Islanders lost their season-high fifth straight — all in regulation. They’ve been outscored 25-8 during the skid.
“I’ve been concerned for a few weeks,” New York coach Doug Weight said. “It’s a concerning time. We looked tired at times. Jarry played really well. We have to recharge and get revamped.”
The Islanders lost right wing Josh Bailey to a lower-body injury early in the first period and he did not return. Bailey leads the team with 38 assists and is tied with captain John Tavares for tops with 50 points.
After a scoreless first period, the Penguins scored three times in the second while outshooting the Islanders 18-8.
Sprong got the Penguins on the scoreboard 41 seconds in as Crosby brought the puck up the left side and passed it through sliding Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy to Sprong, who tapped it past Halak for his first goal in his fourth game this season.
“I just saw him go 2-on-1 with me,” Sprong said of Crosby. “I just wanted to go hard to the net and keep my stick on the ice and he put it right on my tape.”