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DiPietro stops 36 shots; Malkin injured

Nov 24, 2006 - 10:01 PM UNIONDALE, New York (Ticker) The Pittsburgh Penguins started the game without Sidney Crosby and finished it without star rookie Evgeni Malkin. In between, they could not solve Rick DiPietro and the New York Islanders.

DiPietro made 36 saves and Miroslav Satan had a goal and an assist as the Islanders kept up their strong defensive play with a 3-1 victory over the undermanned Penguins.

The Islanders stopped all nine power-play attempts and have held their opposition to just five goals in 38 chances with the man advantage over the last nine games.

"They are a good, fast team on the power play," DiPietro said. "We did an excellent job of blocking shots and clearing rebounds out from in front of the net."

DiPietro stopped 21 shots in the first two periods before having his shutout bid ended when Malkin scored his 11th goal with 7:14 remaining. But Malkin joined Crosby on the sidelines when he absorbed a big hit from Brendan Witt with 3:45 left.

"I don't think he saw me. I put my shoulder into it and that was it," Witt said.

Malkin, who was not available after the game, left for the locker room after the hit. Penguins coach Michel Therrien said Malkin was not injured and expected him to play Saturday against the New York Rangers.

"He'll be OK," Therrien said. "That was a good clean hit and he put his head down."

Crosby participated in the pregame warmup, but was scratched for the second straight game with a strained groin. The team leader with 30 points, Crosby also missed Wednesday's loss to Boston.

Alexei Yashin scored his third goal in four games to open the scoring at 2:12 of the second period. With both teams down a skater, Satan intercepted a clearing pass from goalie Jocelyn Thibault behind the net and fed a wide-open Yashin for his 10th goal of the season.

It was the 300th career assist for Satan.

The Penguins thought they had tied it five minutes later, but replay officials waved off a goal by Malkin, ruling that the rookie threw the puck into the net with his hand while in front of the net.

"I saw it was loose and tried to bat at it," said Penguins right wing Colby Armstrong, who was near Malkin on the play. "I didn't see what happened. There were a lot of bodies there."

After scoring empty-netters in his previous two games, Satan redirected a shot from the right point from Witt at 5:24 of the third period for his fifth goal of the season.

"I don't know if I'd call that lucky, but I don't think I'll score too many goals like that," Satan said. "I'll take it."

Sean Hill's first goal as an Islander at 8:28 of third increased the margin to 3-0.

Thibault, who made his fourth start of the season for Pittsburgh, made 26 saves.

The Isles improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven games. They did their best work on the power play, containing a Penguins unit that clearly missed Crosby.

"We know our power play wasn't up to par. It has to be better," Pittsburgh center Jordan Staal said.

The Islanders killed off a two-man disadvantage lasting 50 seconds in the first period, a task made more difficult after right wing Richard Park broke his stick. But Park was still able to block a shot and distract the Penguins' power play.

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