PITTSBURGH — Evgeni Malkin took advantage of a couple of favorable bounces to score a goal and set up one of Chris Kunitz's two goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins bounced back from a pair of road losses to beat the New York Islanders 3-1 on Wednesday night.
With Kunitz scoring his first two goals since Dec. 29, the Penguins shook off a 5-4 loss Sunday to Washington in which they couldn't hold a 4-1 lead to win their seventh in a row at home against the Islanders. New York lost its eighth in nine games as Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 37 of 38 shots.
Malkin, one of five Penguins players headed to the Olympics next week, repeatedly showed off some fancy stickwork — and, for a brief moment, it looked as if he might fight defenseman Freddy Meyer on a play in which both were sent off for roughing.
Late in the first period, Malkin bounced the puck off the end of his stick yo-yo like as he tried to keep his balance while skating toward the net and managed to get off a shot, although it didn't go in. Malkin had better luck in the second period.
Malkin, who scored three goals during the Penguins' 6-4 win over the Islanders on Jan. 19, skated hard down the left wing boards near the midpoint of the period and threw the puck toward Kunitz. Defenseman Mark Streit got his stuck on the puck, but it deflected directly to Kunitz for his seventh goal. Kunitz played his second game after missing 15 games with an abdominal injury.
Later in the period, Malkin won a faceoff in the Islanders' zone. Sergei Gonchar's shot — though it may have been a pass in disguise — was redirected by Malkin off the heel of his stick past Dwayne Roloson for Malkin's 21st goal.
Seconds before that faceoff, Roloson seemed willing to drop the gloves on a night when there were two fights and nearly a couple of more.
Roloson apparently wanted to take on forward Mike Rupp but slipped coming out of the net and lost his balance before there was any shoving or punching. At the other end, Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury sensed what might be coming and looked ready to skate toward the other end in case Roloson really wanted to fight, but nothing occurred.
The Islanders, losers of seven in a row before beating Nashville 4-3 on Tuesday, cut it to 2-1 at 9:38 of the third when Frans Nielsen put a backhander past Fleury off Bruno Gervais' backhand pass from along the boards. Except for that goal, Fleury was strong throughout after giving up 13 goals in his previous three starts, including a 5-3 loss Saturday at Montreal.
Kunitz got the goal back about 5 minutes later by beating Roloson on a wrist shot from the low slot set up by Bill Guerin. Kunitz hadn't had a two-goal game since March 15 against Boston.
NOTES: The Penguins sold all tickets, but the actual turnout on a snowy night was approximately 13,500. The Penguins have had 147 consecutive sellouts. ... Penguins F Max Talbot (groin) probably won't play again until after the Olympic break. ... Islanders No. 1 draft choice John Tavares doesn't have a goal in 12 games. ... Fleury is 5-0-1 in his last six against the Islanders. ... The Islanders are the second worst in the league on the power play and Pittsburgh is the fifth worst. New York was 0 for 3 and Pittsburgh was 0 for 1.