Kozlov, Sillinger score twice as Islanders top PenguinsDec 3, 2006 - 3:32 AM
Viktor Kozlov and Mike Sillinger scored two goals apiece as the Islanders posted a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third meeting between the teams in nine days.
Miroslav Satan netted his 300th career goal for New York, which was playing its third game without leading scorer Alexei Yashin, who sprained his right knee last Saturday and is expected to miss at least two more weeks.
"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 today."
The Islanders scored just two times in each of the first two games without their captain - both losses, including a 3-2 setback to the Penguins on Tuesday.
"It's great for us," New York coach Ted Nolan said. "Sillinger didn't score for a while, Viktor Kozlov comes out of (a slump) and gets two big goals for us. And Miro Satan gets one for us. It's nice to score some goals, especially with a player like Yashin out."
New York tied this one at 2-2 on Kozlov's sixth goal of the season and 150th career just 2:57 into the second period. Andy Hilbert fired a shot that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped with his right pad, but the rebound popped out to Kozlov, who poked it in.
Just over seven minutes later, Pittsburgh rookie Jordan Staal just missed converting a shorthanded rush when goaltender Rick DiPietro made a superb stick save. New York came down the ice and scored when defenseman Tom Poti took a pass from Kozlov in the right faceoff circle and centered to Sillinger, who put an easy backhand deflection past Fleury for a 3-2 lead.
"We had a good start, but we lost our focus in the second period," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "We tried to make a comeback in the third period, but that's not acceptable. We made some crucial mistakes.
"I thought tonight our defense was not solid like it should be. You can't turn the puck over like we're doing. We need more desperation around the net. We didn't play a real solid defensive game."
New York took advantage of some good fortune to double the lead. Midway through the third, Pittsburgh's Ronald Petrovicky ripped a slap shot from the doorstep off the right goalpost. After the puck slid across and hit the left post, DiPietro covered it.
Less than a minute later, Kozlov cashed in when he took a pass from the right point by Hilbert and blasted a slap shot over Fleury's glove and into the top right corner of the net with 9:13 left.
"We were pressing it pretty hard for that equalizer, and it's only a matter of time when you don't get that next one that they're going to get that insurance marker, and that's what they did," said Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby, who had two assists.
"We know that feeling when we have a lead, we know how important it is to get that two-goal lead instead of just the one. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get that equalizer before they got that second one."
DiPietro helped shut down three power-play opportunities for the Penguins in the final session.
"We battled back hard," DiPietro said. "I don't think we came out in the first and played as well as we wanted to, but we battled hard in the second and third, and we got a big two points."
Despite allowing Mark Recchi's even-strength goal with 4:52 remaining that drew Pittsburgh within 4-3, the netminder finished with 34 saves and improved to 6-3-1 lifetime against his Atlantic Division rival.
"The first two goals were good goals," Nolan said. "Overall, I liked the way he responded and he looks so confident. He made some big, big saves for us to keep the lead for us."
Sillinger closed out the scoring with his seventh of the season with 2:35 left in the game.
After a promising start on the power play, the Penguins finished just 2-for-9 with the man advantage. It was the first time in six games Pittsburgh scored more than one goal with an extra skater.
"We've got to keep working on it," Recchi said. "It's not something that comes easily. We've got enough players to do a good job, but we've got to get better as units. We've got to get shots on net, we've got to get traffic and cram in some ugly goals and go from there."
Fleury, who entered 4-0-1 with one tie and a 2.71 goals-against average in six career starts against the Islanders, stopped 30 shots.
Satan opened the scoring for the Islanders with a power-play goal, his sixth of the season, just 3:38 into the contest.
"I'm glad it's behind me and I don't have to talk about it anymore, that's all," Satan said.
The Penguins answered with man-advantage tallies by Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen later in the first.
Armstrong, who scored his first two goals of the season in Monday's triumph over the Islanders, took a backhand pass from behind the net by Crosby and beat DiPietro high to the glove side for his third goal of the season at 7:52.
Christensen carrieded the puck into the zone and across the high slot before using Poti as a screen and firing a wrist shot past DiPietro at 12:02 for a 2-1 lead.
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