The continuous Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde games continued in Brooklyn on Friday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins easily disposed of the struggling New York Islanders 4-0.
This comes one night after the Penguins were on the wrong end of the same score at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The win allows Pittsburgh to leapfrog the Isles (losers of their last five) in the Metropolitan Division and pull back within one point of the Hurricanes for a wild card spot.
Daniel Sprong scored twice and added an assist and Sidney Crosby had a four point night (one goal, three assists) and Dominik Simon chipped in two assists as the newly formed top line accounted for all but one of the four goals.
With the Islanders bouncing from Long Island to Brooklyn and soon back to the Island, one thing is clear: Sidney Crosby is the one who owns them.
His first four point night of this season punctuates his career dominance against NY as he has 107 points in 60 games against them.
His first point, a nice pass on a two-on-one with Sprong under a minute into the second, seemed to relax the often jittery, uncomfortable club and help them settle in to a groove.
That groove would increase as Evgeni Malkin’s power play goal from the circle was the second of three goals in the period. It was Malkin’s 15th goal of the year. Crosby and Kessel would pick up the assists.
Crosby himself would then score his 15th of his own as he picked up a rebound from a Sprong shot off of the end boards and banked it off of Halak to make it 3-0.
Pittsburgh launched 18 shots in the second period on Jaroslav Halak and 38 in total.
After such a lethargical performance on Thursday, he recipe for Friday’s game didn’t look much better as the Penguins didn’t travel to Brooklyn until Friday morning due to the East coast getting the brunt of the snow bomb-hurricane.
Instead the Penguins looked everything they weren’t on Thursday, fast, fresh-legged and paying attention to detail, all the way down to goaltending.
Tristan Jarry made 31 saves for his second shutout of the year. Jarry continues to prove he is NHL ready and more than capable to step in as he improved his record to 7-3-2. His best save came with just over a minute to go in the first as he robbed Casey Cizikas as he slid post to post and flashed out his leg pad just in time.
A big factor in any second half surge by the Penguins will need to find Jarry ready to step in and spell Matt Murray with frequency and success. At times the Penguins appear calmer and more sound with Jarry in.
Pittsburgh played without Brian Dumoulin, who is recovering from a concussion. Head Coach Mike Sullivan sounded convinced it wouldn’t be long saying they expected him back sooner rather than later.
The Islanders lost Josh Bailey during the game to an unspecified injury. Any time lost going forward would hurt as he is one of their leading producers in points, especially on the power-play. Andrew Ladd also left the game in the third and did not return.
The five-game losing streak is the Isles first since 2013.
The Penguins play their last game before their much needed bye week next week when they host the Boston Bruins on Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m.
Join us for coverage and a post game wrap from me. Thanks for reading!