RECAP: Penguins top Islanders in Sidney Crosby’s 1,000th game

Feb 20, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) handles the puck as New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) defends during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Kris Letang scored two goals Saturday, including the game-winner in the third period as the Pittsburgh Penguins earned a 3-2 victory over the visiting New York Islanders.

Tied at 2-2, Letang took a feed from Sidney Crosby, who was near the end boards, and wristed a shot from the slot over the right shoulder of New York goaltender Semyon Varlamov at 13:34 of the final period.

Mike Matheson also scored for Pittsburgh, and Crosby had two assists while playing in his 1,000th career game. Crosby is the 25th active player to reach 1,000 games and the first in Penguins history to play that many games with the team.

Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry, making his fourth straight start, made 33 saves.

Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson scored for the Islanders, while Varlamov stopped 15 of 18 shots.

The Penguins started slow following a 10-minute pregame ceremony for Crosby and were outshot 16-4 in the opening period, but Jarry held off New York.

At 12:23 of the second period, the Islanders’ Anthony Beauvillier took a hooking penalty to give Pittsburgh the first power play for either team, and the Penguins cashed in on an effective passing sequence.

Crosby fed Malkin at the right point. Letang, off Evgeni Malkin’s point-to-point pass, blasted a shot over Varlamov’s blocker to make it 1-0 at 12:35 of the second. It was Letang’s first goal of the year.

New York tied it at 15:28 of the second. Eberle, left uncovered, moved in from the right side. He faked a forehand shot, then pulled the puck over to his backhand and tucked it behind Jarry.

Nelson gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead 53 seconds into the third. Pittsburgh began to vacate their defensive zone when it looked like the puck would clear, but New York’s Scott Mayfield was able to keep the puck in the zone. Nelson’s wrist shot from the blue line got past the glove of Jarry, who was screened on the play.

At 7:35 of the third, Matheson tied it 2-2. This time, Varlamov was screened, and Matheson scored his first goal with the Penguins from the slot off a pass from Teddy Blueger at the left-wing boards.

–Field Level Media