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PITTSBURGH — The Islanders couldn’t keep Sidney Crosby off the scoresheet in his 1,000th NHL game, as he notched two assists in the Penguins’ 3-2 win on Saturday night.
Kris Letang scored twice, including a tiebreaking goal in the third period, as Pittsburgh won for the fourth time in five games. Mike Matheson also scored, and Tristan Jarry made 33 saves.
Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson scored for the Islanders, who have dropped two straight following a season-high eight-game point streak. Semyon Varlamov stopped 15 shots.
“Life’s not fair sometimes,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “I think the guys in the room know that we probably deserved a point tonight, at least. Maybe two.”
Pittsburgh handed the Isles their first regulation loss in nine games on Thursday. It was the first time the Penguins won a game all season without trailing at any point.
But the Islanders took it to Pittsburgh in the first period Saturday, building a 16-4 advantage in shots. Jarry stepped up, and the game was scoreless after one.
As for Crosby, he became the 25th active skater to play in his 1,000th game. He’s also the first player in Penguins history to play 1,000 games with the team. Crosby entered his 1,000th game with the eighth-most points in NHL history through 1,000 games.
“Different experiences [in the past], I’ve tried to treat like a regular day, but that was pretty much impossible today,” Crosby said.
Shots were 23-10 in favor of the Islanders when Letang opened the scoring 12:36 into the second.
Eberle tied it with his seventh goal at 15:28, beating Jarry with a backhand. Nelson gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead with his fifth goal just 53 seconds into the third period, but the Penguins responded.
Matheson tied it with his first goal for the Penguins at 7:35. Letang put Pittsburgh ahead for good at 13:34. His center-point wrist shot beat Varlamov over the shoulder to the blocker side.
The Penguins all took warmups in Crosby’s No. 87 jersey to recognize their captain before his 1,000th NHL game. At one point during warmups, his teammates knelt down in unison and replicated Crosby’s routine of re-tying his skates.
The Penguins also honored Crosby on the ice with a pregame video.
The video featured career highlights and a message from his family and teammates in addition to comments from Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane, John Tavares and others. Malkin and Letang presented an emotional Crosby with a silver hockey stick, a watch, and a framed mosaic celebrating 1,000 games. Recorded messages of congratulations were also played from others during stoppages in play, including former teammate Phil Kessel and longtime rival Alex Ovechkin.