Sykora, Dupuis each score 3
Penguins winger Petr Sykora sits next to hats that were thrown on the ice after his hat trick against the Islanders last night at the Mellon Arena.
Pascal Dupuis fights for the puck against the Islanders in the third period last night at Mellon Arena. Dupuis recorded his first NHL hat trick in the game.
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Petr Sykora is a pretty fair goal-scorer, but it took him 871 games to get a hat trick in the NHL.
Pascal Dupuis is more of a blue-collar guy, but he did it in just 461.
Perhaps, it was inevitable that both would do it eventually.
What couldn't have been predicted was that they'd do it on the same night.
But Sykora and Dupuis piled up three goals each and assorted teammates chipped in three others in what became a 9-2 Penguins victory at Mellon Arena last night.
Islanders coach Scott Gordon used both his goalies, Joey MacDonald and Yann Danis, but the hard truth is, he could have deployed them at the same time and it might not have affected the Penguins' margin of victory.
The Penguins came up with all sorts of ways to generate scoring chances, and the Islanders came up with just as many to let them become goals.
Sykora, who has 38 two-goal games on his resume, and Dupuis commanded most of the post-game attention, but they hardly were the only ones to enjoy a productive night. Consider:
• Sidney Crosby had three assists, including the pass that set up Sykora's third goal.
• Miroslav Satan scored one goal and set up two others.
• Evgeni Malkin got one goal and assisted on another.
• Defenseman Rob Scuderi assisted on a pair of goals for his second two-point game in the NHL.
Of course, two-assist games hardly were a rarity. Jordan Staal, Matt Cooke and Alex Goligoski did it, too.
The Penguins set a few group bests, too. They got more than seven goals for the first time in 2008-09, scored three on the power play for the second time this season and had a season-high 19 shots in the first period.
The win raised their record to 16-9-4, ended a three-game run of losses in regulation -- their longest such slump of the season -- and lifted them to within four points of the first-place New York Rangers in the Atlantic. The Penguins have two games in hand on New York.
The offensive rampage made for a low-stress evening for goalie John Curry who, making his second NHL start, stopped 24 of 26 shots to earn his first victory as a starter at this level.
That obviously was a major milestone in Curry's career, but Sykora's hat trick was an even bigger one, because it took him so long to get it.
"As much as I talked about how [not having a hat trick] didn't bother me, it did bother me," Sykora said.
He had gotten his first at 17:40 of the opening period, when his shot from the top of the right circle leaked past MacDonald and into the net.
"When you score that first goal in a game, you feel good about yourself and the puck is coming to you," he said.
Sykora picked up his second at 7:53 of the second, when his shot from the slot made it between the pads of Danis, who replaced MacDonald after the first, on a power play. The apparent No. 3 was disallowed because play had been whistled dead before Sykora's shot from short range went in at 9:54, but Sykora converted a Crosby feed at 15:42 to complete his hat trick.
"He said just to get open, and he was going to get it to me," Sykora said. "He made a perfect pass."
Dupuis gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 6:25 of the opening period, when his shot from the left side glanced off MacDonald's glove and dropped over the goal line, and Satan tucked a shot inside the left post during a 5-on-3 power play at 13:49.
New York's Mark Streit scored during a power play at 17:29, but Sykora countered 11 seconds later and defenseman Philippe Boucher, who had missed the previous six games because of an apparent concussion-type injury, scored his first of the season on a shot from the right point at 19:19.
Danis replaced MacDonald for the start of the second, but fared no better. Malkin made it 5-1 by throwing in an Goligoski rebound from the bottom of the right circle at 2:12 and, after Sykora rang up Nos. 2 and 3, Dupuis got his second at 19:29 to put the Penguins up by a touchdown. And extra point.
Andy Sutton cut the Penguins' lead to six with a goal at 13:06 of the third, but Dupuis got that back when he took a feed from Cooke and shoveled a backhander behind Danis at 16:48 for his third of the game.
That capped a memorable night for Sykora and Dupuis, but Crosby was quick to point out that the two points the Penguins earned were worth no more than the two they lost in New Jersey a night earlier.
"That's going to help confidence, but we wouldn't judge one game if we played awful and think it's the end of the world," he said. "So we're not going to think it's everything if we win, 9-2."
First Published December 12, 2008 12:00 am