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Report Card: Penguins Win 4th Straight, Smother Islanders 2-1 | PHN+



Pittsburgh Penguins Jason Zucker, Anthony Angello

The Pittsburgh Penguins have won four in a row, including two against the previously first-place New York Islanders. The Penguins injury-depleted lineup got Jason Zucker back, and John Marino set up a pair of goals for the Penguins 2-1 win at PPG Paints Arena on Monday night.

The Penguins also tied the Islanders for second place in the East Division.

Pengiuns goalie Tristan Jarry was pulled from the game after the first period. We’ll update it as soon as we have information. Casey DeSmith started the period, and Emil Larmi became the second goalie. DeSmith stopped 19 of 20 shots over the final 40 minutes.

UPDATE: Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said Jarry suffered an upper-body injury, but could not pinpoint when it may have occured.

“I think we give them a little bit of their own medicine. You know, I think we kept it simple. We played really hard, played that grinder-type game,” DeSmith said. “I thought we did a really good job capitalizing on our scoring chances early and then we’ve gotten so good lately at defending leads. So I think that’s the biggest improvement as far as this team is concerned.”

In the first period, the Penguins didn’t let New York get their revenge for Saturday’s 6-3 Penguins win. The Penguins scored a pair of goals against four Islanders, twice.

The Penguins’ first goal was a power-play marker set up by defenseman John Marino. Marino rushed end-to-end, and from the end wall, he fed Anthony Angello in the crease. Angello (2) needed a second whack but lit the lamp four minutes into the game.

Late in the period, the Penguins struck again. However, it wasn’t a power-play goal. It started as a Penguins power play after Leo Komarov took a hooking penalty, but Kris Letang gave away the power play 38 seconds later with a roughing penalty.

The Penguins’ structure and game integrity have been its strengths for two weeks.

I think there’s a certain simplicity to our game right now that makes us harder to play against. And, different guys are stepping up at key times to make big plays or to make important plays,” Mike Sullivan said. “Sometimes they’re big and sometimes they’re subtle, but they add up to winning.”

No matter Letang’s penalty, as Marino again raced into the New York zone and laid a soft pass for Jared McCann in the slot. McCann (8) was racing toward the net at full speed at quickly chipped it past New York goalie Semyon Varlamov for a 2-0 lead.

Two apples for Marino. Two secondary assists for Mike Matheson.

The Penguins penalty kill extinguished the previous 19 chances, but a bad bounce of Casey DeSmith in the second period ended the streak and pulled New York within one. Matt Martin (6) got credit for the goal.

The Xs and Os changed dramatically in the second period, though the Penguins held the fort with a new goalie in the pipes.

Pittsburgh Penguins Xs and Os:
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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.