NHL Last Night: Penguins Hold Big Lead

Pennsylvania produced a pair of big-time early leads — only one held up.

The hometown Pittsburgh Penguins coasted to a rousing rout of the New York Islanders on Thursday night, while the cross-state Philadelphia Flyers sent the Carolina Hurricanes packing with a loss they won't soon forget.

Petr Sykora snapped a quirky streak with his first NHL hat trick, and teammate Pascal Dupuis matched the effort in the Penguins' 9-2 thrashing of the Islanders.

The Flyers seemed to be heading down the same path as they entered the third period behind by four goals. Then, Scott Hartnell completed a hat trick of his own and Philadelphia matched its biggest comeback in 20 years in rallying to a 6-5 shootout victory over the Hurricanes.

"What a comeback, " Hartnell said. "After we got the first couple of goals, the atmosphere was crazy. You felt that something special was going to happen."

There were four hat tricks registered on a high-scoring night in the NHL. The eight-game slate featured 43 goals.

In Philadelphia, Hartnell brought the Flyers within two goals by finishing his fourth NHL hat trick, then Scottie Upshall made it 5-4, and Simon Gagne tied it with 1:44 left. Jeff Carter had two assists for the Flyers, who have won three straight and four of five.

Gagne and Mike Richards scored the only goals in the shootout, and the Flyers matched their biggest comeback since Feb. 23, 1988, when they wiped out a 5-1 deficit against Detroit and won 11-6.

"We didn't feel very confident going out there being down 5-1," Gagne said. "Ninety-five percent of the time you end up losing the game. The crowd got energized, gave us energy, and fired us up."

Eric Staal scored two goals and added an assist for the Hurricanes, who had lost three straight and six of seven before beating Washington 3-1 on Sunday.

"Obviously, it's not what we envisioned," Staal said of the blown lead. "We got on our heels, they kept attacking, and they were able to capitalize on their chances."

In Pittsburgh, Sykora ended the longest streak in NHL history without a hat trick by a player who had at least two goals in a game.

Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, and Sidney Crosby set up three goals in Pittsburgh's first nine-goal game since beating the Flyers 9-4 on Feb. 7, 2001. The Islanders dropped their season-high fifth in a row and allowed nine goals for the first time since Dec. 19, 2005 against Toronto.

Sykora previously had 38 games with two goals without getting a third, far surpassing the 28 games by Hall of Fame defenseman Larry Murphy, who played for the Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

"I won't have to talk about it (not scoring three) anymore. It is a relief. As much as I talked that it didn't bother me, it did bother me, and now I feel pretty good," Sykora said.

It was the seventh time in Penguins history that two players had hat tricks in a game and the first since Mario Lemieux and Joey Mullen accomplished it April 9, 1993, against the Rangers.

New York's losing streak is its longest in regulation this season. Joey MacDonald allowed the first four Pittsburgh goals and Yann Danis gave up the final five over the last 40 minutes.

"I've got to be better, I'd like to have at least two of them back," said MacDonald, who gave up four goals on 19 shots. "That got them going, and then poor (Danis) went in there and kind of got hung out to dry."

Penguins rookie John Curry stopped 24 shots to get the victory in his second career start.

Lightning 3, Canadiens 1

At Montreal, Martin St. Louis scored twice, Vincent Lecavalier had a goal and an assist, and Tampa Bay ended its nine-game losing streak. Olaf Kolzig made 31 saves for Tampa Bay, which was 0-7-2 since Nov. 21.

Patrice Brisebois scored a power-play goal for Montreal.Blue Jackets 2, Predators 1, SO

At Columbus, Ohio, Jake Voracek scored the decisive goal in the shootout and Steve Mason stopped 25 shots through overtime as Blue Jackets sent Nashville to a third straight loss.

Coyotes 3, Wild 1

At Glendale, Ariz., Olli Jokinen scored for the third time in two games since returning from a shoulder injury and Phoenix snapped a nine-game losing streak against Minnesota.

Zbynek Michalek and Joakim Lindstrom also scored for the Coyotes, who have won four of five at home.

Antti Miettinen scored for the Wild, who have lost a season-high three straight while scoring just two goals.

Panthers 2, Oilers 0

At Edmonton, Alberta, Craig Anderson stopped 41 shots for his third shutout of the season.

Stephen Weiss and Radek Dvorak scored for the injury-depleted Panthers, who are 6-1-2 in their last nine games.

Edmonton's three-game winning streak was snapped, and the Oilers, who outshot the Panthers 41-16, fell to 3-4-2 at home.

Sharks 2, Ducks 0

At San Jose. Calif., Evgeni Nabokov made 31 saves in his first shutout of the season, and Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist in the Sharks' 10th win in 11 games.

Devin Setoguchi scored his team-high 14th goal for the NHL-leading Sharks, who opened a 13-point advantage atop the Pacific Division over second-place Abaheim with Nabokov's 41st career shutout.

Jonas Hiller stopped 25 shots for the Ducks.

Kings 6, Blues 2

At Los Angeles, Dustin Brown scored three goals for his first NHL hat trick, Anze Kopitar had two goals and an assist, and the Kings rebounded from their most lopsided loss of the season.

Brown, who ended an eight-game goal drought, scored twice in a 72-second span during power plays in the second period. Erik Ersberg started after Jason LaBarbera's 6-1 loss at Colorado on Tuesday and made 26 saves.

The Kings improved to 3-0 against the Blues, including a 4-0 road win by LaBarbera on Oct. 24.

Cam Paddock and Carlo Colaiacovo scored for St. Louis.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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