Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) – Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner notched two goals and one assist each as the New York Islanders demolished the short- handed Pittsburgh Penguins, 9-3, in a brawl-filled contest at Nassau Coliseum.
John Tavares tallied a goal and three helpers for the Islanders, who won for the fourth time in six games by setting a new season high for goals in one contest.
New York last registered nine goals in a 9-2 victory at Chicago on March 25, 2003, and last tallied nine at home during a 9-3 decision over Ottawa on December 17, 1992.
Travis Hamonic posted a three points on a goal and two assists to back a victorious 35-save performance by Mikko Koskinen.
Tyler Kennedy, Kris Letang and Jordan Staal tallied for the Penguins, who have dropped three of four and failed to gain ground on idle Philadelphia in the race for the top spot in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
Pittsburgh was operating without three key players, as captain Sidney Crosby (concussion), forward Evgeni Malkin (knee surgery) and Matt Cooke (suspension) were all absent. Also missing were forwards Chris Kunitz and Mark Letestu (lower body), and forward Arron Asham (upper body), while Mike Comrie is on the shelf long term following hip surgery.
Brent Johnson got the start and was tagged for six goals on 19 shots before being pulled early in the second period. Marc-Andre Fleury yielded two goals on nine shots until intermission, and Johnson allowed one more score on eight shots in the third.
The clubs combined for 65 penalties accounting for 346 penalty minutes. The Islanders accumulated 183 PIM on 34 infractions.
Micheal Haley — who scored his first career goal in the second period — went after Johnson with less than five minutes played in the third period, drawing a game misconduct after that bout, and another lengthy skirmish developed that left the visitors with a major power play to exploit while down 8-2.
Kennedy zipped a shot through traffic at the 7:46 mark but that was all Pittsburgh mustered while a man up.
Grabner then broke in alone and scored over Johnson’s glove for a 9-3 contest with 2:09 remaining. The Islanders enjoyed a power play at the end of regulation but failed to hit double digits.
Hamonic gave the Isles the lead at 8:51 of the opening period, and Jesse Joensuu made it 2-0 for New York four minutes later.
Grabner was given a penalty shot with 6:35 left in the first after he was impeded on a breakaway, but Johnson stopped the free shot by covering up at the right post.
Still, the Isles went up 3-0 at 17:48 when P.A. Parenteau redirected a Hamonic feed through Johnson’s legs for a power-play score and Grabner reached the 20- goal mark on a wrister inside of a minute left for a four-goal margin.
The rout was on early in the second as Tavares hit the 20-goal mark at 3:16 and Haley lit the lamp 30 seconds later to chase Johnson.
After some brief fisticuffs between the clubs that resulted in multiple majors and game misconducts along with a full five-minute advantage for the Penguins, Letang’s blast from the point made it 6-1.
Another New York infraction gave the visitors a 5-on-3 shortly thereafter, and Staal one-timed a Kennedy feed from the slot, but the Pens failed to convert on the remainder of the 5-on-4.
Moulson put the Isles up 7-2 with a high wrister at 13:31 to notch his 20th of the year, then hit the net again with help from Tavares for a a six-goal edge at 17:50.
These clubs met in Pittsburgh on February 2, a 3-0 Penguins victory which saw Johnson debilitate counterpart Rick DiPietro with one punch near the end of that tilt…Philadelphia and Ottawa set the current NHL record for combined penalty minutes with 419 on March 5, 2004…The Islanders last scored 10 goals on November 17, 1984 in a 10-4 win over the Rangers…New York last scored nine in a game against the Penguins in a 9-3 decision on January 27, 1990…Prior to the game, the Penguins placed forward Dustin Jeffrey on injured reserve and recalled forward Eric Tangradi from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL…The Islanders recalled Haley and goaltender Al Montoya from Bridgeport of the AHL.