Sidney Crosby scored with 1 minute, 16 seconds remaining in the final period to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 victory over a stubborn New York Islanders in a thrilling start to the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Friday night schedule.
Crosby’s 12th goal of the season was the 250th of his career and the Penguins captain also had an assist. Chris Kunitz had two goals and an assist, Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists, and James Neal added two assists. Malkin’s goal ended his career-high 15-game scoring drought.
Jeff Zatkoff, playing for the first time since Nov. 2, stopped 32 shots in his fourth NHL start.
Thomas Vanek scored twice for the Islanders in his first game after missing five with an upper-body injury.
Vanek has three goals and two assists with New York since being acquired from Buffalo in October, and seven goals and seven assists in 20 games overall this season.
Colin McDonald also got his second of the season for the Islanders.
Kevin Poulin made 30 saves for the Islanders. He started his sixth straight game in place of injured starter Evgeni Nabokov, who is out with a groin injury.
With less than 90 seconds left, Kunitz got the puck to Pascal Dupuis behind the net and he centered it to Crosby, who got the tiebreaker for the Penguins.
Pittsburgh won their third straight at home, winning for the fifth time in six games at Consol Energy Center, a place where the Penguins are 10-3, while having allowed just 24 goals.
In Calgary, Sean Monahan scored in the sixth round of the shootout to lift the Calgary Flames to a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers.
Joe Colborne had a goal and an assist in regulation, while Sven Baertschi and Blair Jones also scored for Calgary.
Flames goalie Reto Berra stopped 23 shots while playing in his sixth straight game.
Berra stopped Florida forward Nick Bjugstad in the sixth round of the shootout to preserve the victory, after Monahan had given Calgary the edge.
Tom Gilbert, Jimmy Hayes and Marcel Goc scored in regulation for the Panthers.
Elsewhere, David Desharnais scored his long-awaited first goal of the season, and the Montreal Canadiens took an early three-goal lead and survived two goals from Alex Ovechkin in a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals.
In other games, the Vancouver Canucks thrashed the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-2 and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Anaheim Ducks 1-0.