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Pens rally over Islanders 4-2

Chris Kunitz scored his 19th of the year and Pascal Dupuis had a goal and an assist as the Penguins remained perfect in March with a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders Friday night.

The Penguins (24-8-0) overcame a slow start at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, but rallied to win their 11th straight game.

Dupuis and Sidney Crosby tallied two points apiece. Seven other Penguins’ players and six Islanders’ players recorded one point apiece.

The Penguins opened the game flat and were left scrambling on defense. The Islanders had numerous scoring opportunities, but strong play from goalie Tomas Vokoun kept the Pens in the game. New York’s Mark Streit eventually scored on an assist from Matt Carkner after Frans Nielsen won a face-off in the Pens’ defensive zone. Pittsburgh was held without a shot until the 7-minute mark of the first period, but the Pens drew a penalty with a minute to go. The Islanders outshot the Penguins 14-3, and Pittsburgh entered the break trailing 1-0.

Pittsburgh came out of the intermission on the power play but could not convert. The Pens played with noticeably more energy and effort on both ends of the ice, combining solid defense with consistent offensive pressure. The Islanders had a giveaway in the neutral zone that was corralled by Pittsburgh’s Craig Adams who pushed the puck ahead to Joe Vitale for a one-on-one goal to tie the game.

Vokoun locked down the net in the second period, but a defensive breakdown led to the Islander’s Josh Bailey scoring off a John Tavares rebounded shot and a Travis Harmonic assist. The Pens answered with a takeaway in the their defensive zone, leading to a break on the Islander’s net as Depuis assisted and Crosby served the puck to Chris Kunitz for a rocket goal with 14-seconds left in the period.

Pittsburgh kept the momentum rolling early in the period with a takeaway by James Neal in the neutral zone. He passed ahead to Matt Cooke who dished to Brandon Sutter for a beautiful goal. The Penguins denied the Islanders a goal on both their third-period power plays, and Vokoun stifled New York’s desperate attempt to add an equalizer. The Pens’ Depuis knocked in an empty-net goal on assists from Crosby and Vokoun as time expired.

Vokoun improved to 8-3 on the season after a fantastic effort in goal with 33 of 35 shots saved.

The Penguins come home Sunday to face the Philadelphia Flyers and will look to extend their winning streak to 12.

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