Final

Series (Game 4 of 5)

New York leads 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, November 16th
Islanders3Final
Penguins2
Game 2: Saturday, December 7th
Islanders6Final
Penguins3
Game 3: Saturday, January 4th
Islanders2Final
OT
Penguins3
Game 4: Tuesday, January 7th
Penguins3Final
Islanders6
Game 5: Tuesday, January 28th
Penguins2Final
Islanders5

Penguins 3

(17-16-5, 42 pts)

Islanders 6

(18-16-1, 42 pts)

7:00 PM ET, January 7, 2003

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

1 2 3 T
PIT 0 2 13
NYI 1 4 16

D. Scatchard (Islanders - C): Goals: 3, Assists: 0

O. Kvasha (Islanders - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

J. Blake (Islanders - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

Islanders pull even with Pittsburgh in playoff race

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- The New York Islanders were taking the game to the listless Pittsburgh Penguins even before Mario Lemieux's aching groin knocked him out.

 Dave Scatchard
Scatchard

After that, things got even easier.

Dave Scatchard scored a career-high three goals in New York's second straight offensive outburst at home and the Islanders beat the Penguins 6-3 Tuesday night.

Scatchard scored twice in the Islanders' second four-goal period in as many home games and then finished his first career hat trick with his 13th goal of the season early in the third.

"I wanted to take in the moment," he said. "I was just saying 'all right, finally.'"

The Islanders, who have won six of seven, moved into eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

"This is our best game of the year," Scatchard said. "The first hat is a fun thing, but the playoffs are more fun."

Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish also had goals in the Islanders' big second period. Shawn Bates gave New York the lead in the first period. Jason Blake assisted on each of Scatchard's goals.

"We had four lines going and when we do, not many teams can match us," Scatchard said.

Steve McKenna and Mario Lemieux scored for Pittsburgh in the second period that ended with New York ahead 5-2. Ville Nieminen brought Pittsburgh within 6-3 with 5:03 left in the game.

Lemieux logged 10 shifts totaling 7 minutes, 46 seconds of ice time in the first period but only four shifts and 2:50 in the second before he left.

"It's just a strain, but I won't know until I get up tomorrow and see how it feels and really go from there," he said.

He was hurt when he fell in the Islanders' zone. Lemieux attempted a quick return but couldn't stay on.

"I just felt a little pop," he said. "I wanted to try it right away. Right off the faceoff I tried to take a couple of strides and I just couldn't go."

Pittsburgh defenseman Marc Bergevin didn't want to use Lemieux's injury as an excuse for the Penguins to give up.

"That's embarrassing if that's the case," he said. "This was an important game for us and we just didn't show up."

McKenna acknowledged that the Penguins, 6-1-0-1 in their previous eight, weren't playing well even before Lemieux went out.

"It was a letdown after they scored their fourth, fifth, sixth goal," he said.

New York, which fired 41 shots at Jean-Sebastien Aubin, earned three out of four possible points in the important home-and-home series with the Penguins that began with a 3-2 overtime loss Saturday night. That defeat snapped the Islanders' five-game winning streak, their longest since 1993.

The surging Islanders are even with Pittsburgh at 42 points in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but they have 18 wins -- one more than Pittsburgh.

Bates returned to the Islanders' lineup after an eight-game absence because of a groin injury. He gave New York a 1-0 lead with 4:38 left in the first.

Lemieux tied it with a power-play goal just 2:14 into the second when he got a funny rebound off Martin Straka's shot off the end boards and scored his 20th of the season from a sharp angle. He has a league-high 68 points.

It is the 12th time that Lemieux has reached the 20-goal mark in a career that has already landed him in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Lemieux has only failed to reach 20 three times in 15 NHL seasons.

Kvasha made it 2-1 Islanders just 17 seconds after Lemieux's goal. Scatchard scored at 5:45 and Parrish made it 4-1 just 1:40 later. Scatchard's second goal made it a four-goal lead at 14:37.

"That's a good team," Lemieux said. "They spread it out pretty good and that's why they're on a roll."

McKenna slapped a shot in from in front to make it 5-2 with just four seconds left in the second.

"There was no life, there was no energy," McKenna said of the Penguins. "There were 20 guys not going tonight."

And he didn't have any answers why.

"I wish they could go look on the tape and find something because there were 20 guys out there that weren't working as hard as they could," he said.

New York scored four goals in the first period of Friday night's 8-4 victory over Boston. Mark Parrish had the Islanders' first hat trick of the season in that game.

Game notes
The Islanders had killed 26 straight power plays and 62 of 63 before Lemieux's goal. ... Pittsburgh took 31 shots at Chris Osgood, who won his sixth straight game. ... Scatchard has seven career two-goal games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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