The Pittsburgh Penguins scored three unanswered goals to erase an early 1-0 Islanders lead and pick up a 3-1 victory Saturday night.
Evgeni Malkin tallied on the power play while Patric Hornqvist scored twice in the win.
With his assist on Hornqvist’s second of the night, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby reached the 500 assist mark for his career.
According to NHL.com, Crosby became the sixth fastest player to reach 500 assists and joined Mario Lemieux (1,033) and Jaromir Jagr (640) as the only Penguins to have reached the milestone.
Thomas Hickey had the lone goal for the Islanders, who lost for the first time in five games.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves for the win. The Penguins have now won three of their first four games.
Joe Thornton’s third period, empty net, goal was his 1,200th career NHL point – it was the insurance marker as the San Jose Sharks doubled up the New Jersey Devils 4-2 Saturday night.
Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau had the other Sharks goals while Adam Henrique and Mike Cammalleri scored for New Jersey.
Antti Neimi made 35 saves for his third win in as many starts.
Cory Schneider made 28 saves in the loss.
With his goal, Thornton becomes just the 46th player ever to reach the 1,200 point plateau.
File this one under ‘typical NHL’.
New Jersey Devils tough guy Jordin Tootoo catches San Jose Sharks forward Adam Burish with a clean shoulder to shoulder hit, which Andrew Desjardins takes exception to and the two drop the gloves.
The fight was Tootoo’s first as a member of the Devils.
New Jersey Devils forward Martin Havlat will not play against his former team, the San Jose Sharks, Saturday.
Initially Havlat was listed as a game-time decision despite suffering several facial lacerations on Thursday night according to Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger.
However, during the team’s pre-game skate prior to puck drop, Havlat was not part of the line rushes.
Havlat suffered the injury after being taken heavily into the end boards during the second period of New Jersey’s 6-2 loss to the Washington Capitals.
“He’s got a full mask (shield) on to protect the cuts,” said Devils coach Pete DeBoer. “If he’s less than 100 percent we have healthy people. He’s got to tell us that he can come in and contribute.
“It’s one of those injuries that looks worse than it is. When I had a conversation with him today and he mentioned playing tonight, when you look at him you’re kind of in shock that he’s considering that. The good news is there is nothing structural. It’s just cuts and he’s a tough guy.”
Havlat spent three injury-filled seasons with the Sharks prior to being bought out in the summer.
All the latest from the blue paint…
Big challenges for backups
If a variety of NHL head coaches want to gauge how much they can truly trust their No. 2 options, then Saturday presents plenty of interesting tests.
No pressure, kid – Calvin Pickard looks primed to man the Colorado Avalanche’s net as Patrick Roy takes his struggling team to face Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens. Those are some long odds for Pickard, 22. If Roy is providing any words of advice, it appears that they won’t be too specific, as he told NHL.com’s Arpon Basu that he’s actually very hands-off with goalies:
Jake finally gets his shot – Brian Elliott has made it really tough for Jake Allen to argue that the St. Louis Blues’ goaltending situation is a true 1A/1B situation, but Allen finally starts against Mike Smith and the Arizona Coyotes tonight. The Coyotes don’t have the most dangerous offense on paper, so the Blues probably expect impeccable work from their potential goalie of the future.
Goaltending coach Jim Corsi (yes, that Corsi) had glowing words for Allen:
Battle of backups – It looks like there will be at least two battles between backup goalies tonight. The Washington Capitals look primed to roll out Justin Peters against a Florida Panthers team starting Al Montoya after Roberto Luongo shut out the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. Robin Lehner gets a chance to work his way back into more of a platoon with the Ottawa Senators while the Columbus Blue Jackets must trust Curtis McElhinney considering the fact that they’re tied for the NHL lead with the most back-to-back games this season. Sergei Bobrovsky can only do so much.
Opportunities for Svedberg, Gustavsson – On paper, facing Jhonas Enroth and a Buffalo Sabres team coming off of a back-to-back is a golden opportunity for Boston Bruins backup Niklas Svedberg. If Friday’s game and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ struggles are any indication, Jonas Gustavsson gets a nice opportunity tonight, too. That said, Jonathan Bernier should be plenty motivated if he starts for Toronto, as expected.
To round out the No. 2 talk, Vancouver Canucks backup Eddie Lack faces a tough challenge in Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- The San Jose Sharks are starting Antti Niemi in an interesting test against Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils.
- Speaking of interesting tests, Jaroslav Halak gets another nod from the New York Islanders as they face the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are expected to continue starting Marc-Andre Fleury.
- The Dallas Stars opt for Kari Lehtonen, most likely against the Philadelphia Flyers’ Steve Mason.
- The Nashville Predators seem likely to go back to Pekka Rinne after last night’s shutout. He’ll face a big challenge in the Chicago Blackhawks, who are rolling with Corey Crawford.