Penguins 2, Islanders 0

John Perrotto, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins keep losing players, including superstar Sidney Crosby on Saturday, yet keep winning games.
The Penguins ran their winning streak to 15 games with a 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders at Consol Energy, as Tomas Vokoun made 35 saves in notching his second shutout in a row and 51st of his 15-year career.
Matt Cooke and James Neal scored third-period goals to draw the Penguins to within two of the NHL record for consecutive victories. The Penguins won 17 in a row from March 9-April 10, 1993.
The Penguins finished March with a 15-0 record and became the first NHL team to go undefeated in a month in which it played at least 10 games.
The Islanders (16-16-3) entered the day tied with the New York Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but had their three-game winning streak snapped.
The Penguins, who have the best record in the league at 28-8-0, were able to win even though Sidney Crosby, the NHL's leading scorer, was forced out of the game only 1:32 in.
Crosby was hit in the mouth by a puck when teammates Brooks Orpik's slap shot deflected off the Islanders' Lubomir Visnovsky.
The Penguins did not give any more information about the injury, beyond that Crosby would not return to the game.
Chris Kunitz, who entered the day third in the league in scoring, received a game misconduct for checking from behind with 3:27 left in the second period when he drove Islanders center Josh Bailey into the boards. That could lead to a possible suspension for Kunitz.
The Penguins lost key defensemen in their previous two games. Kris Letang broke a toe in Tuesday night's victory over the Montreal Canadiens and Paul Martin underwent surgery and will miss six weeks after sustaining what was believed to be a broken wrist in a win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
Despite the personnel losses, the Penguins recorded their third straight shutout and set a club record by not allowing a goal for 208:24. The previous mark was 187:30, set in 1993.
Vokoun, filling in for injured Marc-Andre Fleury, was outstanding in net. His biggest save came with the game scoreless and 12:22 left, when he stonewalled Michael Grabner on a breakaway.
The Penguins are three wins away from breaking the winning streak record. They host Buffalo on Tuesday night, then could tie the record Wednesday night, when they visit the Rangers in New York and break it Friday night in a home game against the Rangers.
The game was scoreless until 8:10 of the third period, when Cooke scored on a wrist shot from the right side of the net. It was Cooke's sixth goal of the season, but first since March 2, the day the Penguins' winning streak began.
Cooke also played a big role in Pittsburgh killing Kunitz's major penalty that turned into a two-man advantage for the Islanders when Orpik was called for tripping with 33 seconds left in the second.
Neal broke a 10-game scoring drought and made it 2-0 when he beat Evgeni Nabokov on a snap shot from the right circle on an odd-man rush at 13:20, getting his 18th goal of the season.
Star winger Jarome Iginla made his Penguins' debut a little more than 12 hours after arriving in Pittsburgh late Friday night following his trade from the Calgary Flames.
The trade was made in the wee hours of Thursday morning but Iginla was unable to leave Canada until gaining a work visa Friday morning.
Iginla was eager to play Saturday, even though the Penguins' original plan was to have him practice with the team Monday and then made his debut Tuesday night.
Saturday marked the first time Iginla had played for team other than the Flames during his 16-year career. The Penguins acquired him for a first-round draft pick and college prospects Ben Hanowski and Kenny Agostino.
"I was so happy when the coach (Dan Bylsma) told me I could play," Iginla said before the game. "It would have been tought to sit and watch the game and even tougher to wait a few more days before we had our next game.
"It's great to be part of this team and playing right away helped get rid of the nerves and a lot of the stuff that goes with making the transition to a new team."
Despite being a right wing throughout most of his career, Iginla played on the left side on a line with center Evgeni Malkin and right wing James Neal. The last time Iginla saw consistent playing time at left wing was during 1998-99.
"I'm happy to try left wing or whatever Dan (Bylsma) wants," Iginla said. "I've played over there before and I can get comfortable there."
NOTES: Pittsburgh defenseman Paul Martin underwent surgery Friday to repair a broken bone in his upper body. Though the Penguins did not specify the injury, it is believed Martin suffered a broken wrist when struck by a shot during Thursday night's victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Martin recorded six goals and 21 points in 33 games and is second on the team in average ice time at 25:22. ... Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik played in the 621st game of his career, tying Ron Stackhouse for the Penguins' record for a defenseman. ... Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky was in the lineup after agreeing Friday night to a two-year, $9.5-million contract extension that prevents him from becoming a free agent at season's end. New York reportedly is trying to sign defenseman and captain Mark Streit, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and right wing Brad Boyes, who all are pending free agents. ... Defenseman Roberto Bortuzzo was scratched for Pittsburgh, along with centers Dustin Jeffrey and Joe Vitale. ... The Islanders' scratches were left wing Eric Boulton and defensemen Joe Finley and Radek Martinek.

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