for this game

Whitney responds to criticism, leads Penguins over Islanders

Feb 8, 2008 - 5:19 AM
By Vince Comunale PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- After being publicly called out by his coach, defenseman Ryan Whitney had no choice but to step up.

Whitney scored two goals and added an assist and rookie defenseman Kris Letang netted the game-winner to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the struggling New York Islanders on Thursday.

Evgeni Malkin recorded three assists for the Penguins (30-19-5), who improved to 4-2-2 in eight games without captain Sidney Crosby and climbed into a tie with the idle Philadelphia Flyers (30-18-5) atop the Atlantic Division with 65 points.

The multi-point night had to be especially satisfying for Whitney, who was the subject of coach Michel Therrien's wrath after Monday's loss in New Jersey.

"A guy like Ryan Whitney is going to have to be more aggressive around the net," Therrien said after the 4-3 overtime setback. "He's not aggressive at all. It cost (us) the game."

Aggressiveness did not seem to be a problem for the fourth-year blue-liner on Thursday, as he fired four shots on goal and keyed Pittsburgh's attack with the man advantage. Whitney pushed his total to 11 goals this season, with seven coming on the power play.

"No, I don't want to... You can leave that out of there," Whitney said when asked whether his coach should yell at him after every contest.

Therrien's analysis of Whitney's play on Thursday was remarkably different from that on Monday.

"He responded exactly the way I expected, give him credit," Therrien said. "He upgraded his game not only offensively - it is great to see him get two goals tonight - but defensively, he was sharp. This is what I want from him."

Letang helped the Penguins avoid a second straight overtime game with a beautiful snap shot with 3:39 left in the third period. Streaking down the right side, he brought the puck deep into New York's zone before firing a shot from just above the end line past All-Star goaltender Rick DiPietro for a 4-3 lead.

"I just saw the goalie down and the defenseman was backing up, so I just tried to put it on net and make something happen," Letang said.

The Islanders had tied the game with 9:13 remaining, when Richard Park controlled the puck behind the net before finding Mike Comrie on the left side. From a tough angle, Comrie wristed a shot over netminder Ty Conklin's right shoulder to forge a 3-3 deadlock.

Pittsburgh had taken the lead with 8:27 left in the second period on Whitney's second goal of the night.

New York opened the scoring at 4:31 of the first, when Conklin came out to play the puck in the right corner. He attempted to push it behind the end line, but that action would have resulted in a delay-of-game penalty.

Realizing Conklin could not play the puck, Andy Hilbert quickly grabbed it and dished it to a wide-open Comrie, who easily tapped it into the vacant net from the doorstep for his first goal in 11 games.

Despite the two-goal effort, Comrie would rather have had his team come away with a victory.

"It gets more frustrating every game you lose," he said.

The Penguins evened the contest on the power play at 9:04 of the first. Pinching from the point, Whitney pushed Petr Sykora's pass by DiPietro for his 10th goal.

Ryan Malone also scored and Conklin made 25 saves for Pittsburgh.

New York captain Bill Guerin snapped a seven-game scoreless streak with an assist on Comrie's first goal, but it was not enough to lift his struggling club to victory. The Islanders have lost six consecutive games, marking the longest losing streak of the season for the team - which ranks last in the NHL with 131 goals.

"It's a game of mistakes, and we made one too many," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said.

Despite the loss, Guerin had a positive outlook.

"A lot of good things tonight, a step in the right direction," he said. "Hopefully, we're just inching closer to a win."






  • 21
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    Islanders vs. PenguinsFeb 9 8:29 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 1 1 1 3
    PITTSBURGH 1 2 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - BLAKE COMEAU 5 (ANDY HILBERT, BILL GUERIN) 4:31
    PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 10 (PETR SYKORA, EVGENI MALKIN) 9:04
    2ND PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 16 (RYAN WHITNEY, EVGENI MALKIN) 2:24
    NYI - RUSLAN FEDOTENKO 9 (TRENT HUNTE

    Feb 7 10:06 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 3
    PITTSBURGH 4
    3RD PRD: PIT - KRISTOPHER LETANG 3 (JEFF TAFFE) 16:21

    Islanders vs. PenguinsFeb 7 9:59 PM
  • 16
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    RUWTbot Took away 21 roots (Close Finish)

    Islanders vs. PenguinsFeb 7 9:59 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 32 roots (Close Finish)

    Islanders vs. PenguinsFeb 7 9:51 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 3
    PITTSBURGH 3
    3RD PRD: NYI - (PP) MIKE COMRIE 15 (RICHARD PARK, FREDERICK MEYER IV)
    10:47

    Islanders vs. PenguinsFeb 7 9:47 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 1 1 2
    PITTSBURGH 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - BLAKE COMEAU 5 (ANDY HILBERT, BILL GUERIN) 4:31
    PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 10 (PETR SYKORA, EVGENI MALKIN) 9:04
    2ND PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 16 (RYAN WHITNEY, EVGENI MALKIN) 2:24
    NYI - RUSLAN FEDOTENKO 9

    Feb 7 9:13 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 2
    PITTSBURGH 3
    2ND PRD: PIT - RYAN WHITNEY 11 (EVGENI MALKIN, SERGEI GONCHAR) 11:33

    Islanders vs. PenguinsFeb 7 8:57 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 2
    PITTSBURGH 2
    2ND PRD: NYI - RUSLAN FEDOTENKO 9 (TRENT HUNTER, FREDERICK MEYER IV)
    6:30

    Islanders vs. PenguinsFeb 7 8:50 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    PITTSBURGH 2
    2ND PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 16 (RYAN WHITNEY, EVGENI MALKIN) 2:24

    Islanders vs. PenguinsFeb 7 8:44 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 1 1
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - BLAKE COMEAU 5 (ANDY HILBERT, BILL GUERIN) 4:31
    PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 10 (PETR SYKORA, EVGENI MALKIN) 9:04
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYI 11 11

    Feb 7 8:18 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    PITTSBURGH 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 10 (PETR SYKORA, EVGENI MALKIN) 9:04

    Islanders vs. PenguinsFeb 7 7:58 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    PITTSBURGH 0
    1ST PRD: NYI - BLAKE COMEAU 5 (ANDY HILBERT) 4:31

    Islanders vs. PenguinsFeb 7 7:48 PM
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    Islanders vs. PenguinsFeb 7 12:28 PM