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The Leafs were practicing at MTS Centre, spirits high after their second consecutive win against the Jets the previous night
January 14, 2014 08:21AM
PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin was just as surprised as everyone else outside of the Islanders bench was when New York replaced goalie Evgeni Nabokov at the end of overtime. Malkin knew exactly what he was going to do against Rick DiPietro in the shootout, and he allowed the Pittsburgh Penguins to extend their recent mastery over the Islanders. Malkins shootout goal capped a rally from a two-goal deficit in the third period and Pittsburgh won its fifth consecutive game, 3-2 over the Islanders on Thursday night. "It was a surprise for me and the whole team," Malkin said of the Islanders swapping out goalies for the shootout after Nabokov had stopped 30 of 32 shots. "Nabokov played a great game. "When I saw DiPietro, I knew I would do my good move. It was a surprise, he fell down. It was a lucky goal." Pittsburghs second shooter of the shootout, Malkin walked in, made multiple dekes in close while avoiding a pole check and slid the puck under a sprawling DiPietro with his backhand. Chris Kunitz and James Neal scored 2:46 apart early in the third period less than a minute after Matt Martin had given the Islanders a 2-0 lead. Frans Nielsen had a first-period goal for New York, which has lost four in a row overall and hasnt won in Pittsburgh in almost four years. The Penguins have won 12 consecutive home games against the Islanders. Nabokov said he sustained a minor lower-body injury in the first period that worsened as the game progressed. Heading into his teams first shootout of the season, New York coach Jack Capuano had to turn to DiPietro, who hadnt appeared in a game yet this season and whose previous appearance in Pittsburgh ended with him sustaining a broken cheekbone from a punch from Penguins backup goalie Brent Johnson in February. DiPietros 19-10 record in shootouts coming in was one of the best in the league among active goalies, and his .732 save percentage was tied for ninth among active goalies who had appeared in at least 15 shootouts. According to STATS LLC this was the fifth time since the NHL instituted the shootout in 2005 that a goaltender came into the game for the shootout after having not played during regulation or overtime. "Im always ready," said DiPietro, "Thats what they pay me to do, right?" DiPietro stopped Kris Letang to open the shootout, and Neal would miss the net on a shot after Malkins goal. Pittsburghs Marc-Andre Fleury stopped Nielsen and John Tavares, and P.A. Parenteau missed the net to end the game. "(DiPietro) was great and actually almost had Malkins there," Capuano said. "But obviously, if you dont score in the shootout youre not going to win." Malkin improved to 2-for-2 this season in shootouts despite entering the campaign 8-for-30 lifetime. He had struggled at times so much that the Penguins went through stretches where they rarely used him despite his status as one of the games most gifted scorers and stickhandlers. "Hes got great moves in practice that he shows off," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. "Tonight, that was a spectacular move. He had to change direction when DiPietro made the poke check ... He made an awesome move. I think its him having a little more swagger, trying some of the moves he does have. Hes done it a couple times this year. Tonight was just outstanding." The Islanders led 1-0 after two, and Martin extended their lead to 2-0 just 45 seconds into the third for his first goal since March 22. "I think its mandatory if you have a 2-0 lead in the third period," said Martin, "that you have to come out with a win." Especially against Pittsburgh, which hadnt won a game it trailed after two periods since April 3, 2010. "You knew that they were going to come at some point in the third period," Nabokov said of the Penguins. "Either with 10 minutes to go, five minutes to go or right away." Try 44 seconds later, when Kunitz began the comeback with his third of the season, off a pass from by Pascal Dupuis. Neal tied it 2:46 after that while on the power play, finishing a pretty sequence of passes from Malkin to Kunitz to Neal. The goal was Neals ninth, tying him with Torontos Phil Kessel for the league lead. "We didnt feel like the game was getting away from us being down one," said Kunitz, "but as soon as they scored that second one, that panic button hit a little more and we picked up the tempo." Notes: Neals goal was only the second 5-on-4 goal the Islanders have allowed this season. Pittsburgh has not allowed any. The teams are the top two in the NHL in penalty-killing percentage. ... The Penguins have outscored the Islanders 49-19 during the home winning streak against them. Pittsburgh is 17-2-2 in its past 21 against New York overall. ... The most recent time a goalie entered a game for the first time for the shootout was Torontos Curtis Joseph on Oct. 21, 2008, against Anaheim. Rob Gronkowski Super Bowl Jersey . -- Johan Santana knows he wont be pitching when the New York Mets start their season April 1. Tavon Wilson Super Bowl Jersey . Del Potro reached his second straight final at the Rotterdam tournament by beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4. Benneteau then overcame fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-4, 7-6 (2), with Simon troubled by an upper thigh injury through much of the second set. http://www.newenglandpatriotssuperbowljersey.com/Super-Bowl-Aqib-Talib-Jersey/ . The Washington Capitals defenceman got into some hot water from Erik Cole about comments he made about the NHL lockout and the NHLPAs stance on the labour stoppage. Kenbrell Thompkins Super Bowl Jersey . The Leafs were practicing at MTS Centre, spirits high after their second consecutive win against the Jets the previous night. Kevin Faulk Super Bowl Jersey . Trailing the Blackhawks are the Boston Bruins, fresh off the addition of Jaromir Jagr from Dallas, and the Montreal Canadiens, who are three points ahead of the Bruins in the Northeast Division. WINNIPEG -- Linebacker Pierre-Luc Labbe is retiring after six seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The 29-year-old native of Quebec City was selected in the sixth round, 47th overall, by Winnipeg in the 08 CFL draft after playing collegiately at Sherbrooke. "Im very grateful for my time in the CFL and especially with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers," said Labbe in a statement. "This is a great organization with great fans and Im definitely going to miss everything about playing the game." The six-foot-two, 229-pound Labbbe appeared in 107 career games with Winnipeg, including two playoff contests and one Grey Cup.dddddddddddd. "Pierre-Luc has been a significant part of our roster, not only where he excelled on special teams, but in the past few years he also played significant minutes on our defence," Bombers GM Kyle Walters said in a team release. "Off the field he is the prototypical, consummate professional, a great leader in the locker room and a good teammate. "We wish him the best in his future endeavours." ' ' '
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