Series (Game 2 of 5)

New York leads 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, November 16th
Game 2: Saturday, December 7th
Game 3: Saturday, January 4th
Game 4: Tuesday, January 7th
Game 5: Tuesday, January 28th

Islanders 6

(11-13-0, 25 pts)

Penguins 3

(11-9-3, 28 pts)

7:30 PM ET, December 7, 2002

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
NYI 2 2 26
PIT 2 0 13

M. Peca (Islanders - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

B. Isbister (Islanders - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 3

M. Straka (Penguins - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

Islanders deal Pens fourth straight defeat

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Michael Peca, Brad Isbister and Arron Asham are leading the New York Islanders' resurgence, despite being linemates for just three games.

Michael Peca

Peca scored his first two goals of the season and Isbister had a goal and three assists Saturday night as New York beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 to stretch its winning streak to three games.

"Chemistry is chemistry,'' said Isbister, who has seven points in two games. "We know where each other is going to be, and the puck seems to be bouncing our way.''

Peca, who missed all but 27 seconds of the Islanders' first 16 games after offseason knee and shoulder surgeries, hadn't scored a regular-season goal since April 11. He also had an assist.

Asham added two assists, giving the line nine points. The trio combined for six points in a 4-2 victory Friday over Toronto.

"It's just hard work, keeping it simple,'' Peca said. "We get it in, work the puck down low and try to get it to the net. We've had success with that.''

New York, still in last place in the Atlantic Division, has won twice in Pittsburgh during a 6-2-0-2 surge that has the Islanders just three points behind the Penguins. The Islanders are 4-0-1 in their last five games in Pittsburgh.

Martin Straka had a goal and two assists for the Penguins, who lost their season-high fourth straight game. Pittsburgh, which played without right wing Alexei Kovalev (bruised tricep), has lost three straight home games.

"We just made mistakes and shot ourselves in the foot,'' Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Moran said. "We've had more turnovers and allowed more odd-man breaks. Odd-man breaks in this league turn into goals.''

Asham and Isbister got the Islanders going by working the puck free from the right-wing boards on their first shift. Peca found the loose puck before tossing a backhander over Johan Hedberg's shoulder just 1:10 into the first period.

After Pittsburgh defenseman Hans Jonsson tied it, Jason Wiemer and Mario Lemieux traded first-period goals before the Islanders broke open the game in the second period.

Peca was credited with his second goal at 7:50 of the second period. A shot by Asham hit Peca in front of the Pittsburgh net and slid to the bottom of the left circle, where Penguins' defenseman Andrew Ference inadvertently whacked the puck into his net while trying to clear it away from Hedberg.

Mark Parrish made it 4-2 at 14:25 of the second period when he converted Isbister's 2-on-1 pass at the bottom of the right circle. The Islanders' penalty killers played a crucial role in the second period, killing off a pair of two-man advantages.

"We have to score on those in a game like this,'' forward Jan Hrdina said of two-man advantages that lasted 38 seconds, and 1 minute, 11 seconds. "It would have been a different game if we scored there.''

Isbister's ninth goal of the season at 10:30 of the third period made it 5-2 before Straka scored his sixth at 11:35. Jason Blake converted the rebound of Wiemer's breakaway at 18:08 of the third period for his sixth goal.

"We played a pretty good defensive game, limiting their scoring chances,'' New York coach Peter Laviolette said. "Our guys stuck with the system, they worked hard at it and they generated offense when they could.''

Lemieux scored his 13th goal of the season and has points in his last 10 games (5-14-19).

Game notes

Hedberg has not won at home since beating Tampa Bay on Nov. 2. ... Lemieux has been kept off the scoresheet only three times in his 25 games this season. ... Asham had two assists for the Islanders. ... New York scratched tough-guy Eric Godard, called up Friday for the Islanders' grudge match against Darcy Tucker and the Toronto Maple Leafs. ... Snow made 19 saves to win just his second game this season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press