UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Brandon Sutter's goal less than two minutes into the third period broke a tie Friday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins recorded their 11th straight win by beating the New York Islanders, 4-2, at Nassau Coliseum.
The Penguins (24-8-0) tied the Blackhawks for the longest winning streak in the NHL this season (Chicago won 11 in a row from Feb. 15-Mar. 6) and moved within six wins of tying the NHL's all-time longest winning streak, set by the Penguins 20 years ago.
Joe Vitale and Chris Kunitz also scored for the Penguins, who scored an empty netter as time expired to record just their fourth multi-goal win of the streak. The Penguins have outscored the opposition 44-25 during their run.
The Islanders had a handful of scoring chances in the third but failed to take advantage of two power plays in the last eight minutes.
Goalie Tomas Vokoun made 33 saves for the Penguins.
The Penguins have maintained their winning ways despite the absences of forward Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang. Malkin missed his seventh straight game Friday because of an upper body injury while Letang was out for the second consecutive contest because of a lower body injury.
Mark Streit and Josh Bailey scored for the Islanders (13-15-3), who outshot the Penguins 35-25 but still lost their third in a row and missed a valuable chance to gain on the idle Hurricanes and Rangers in the race for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Instead, the Islanders -- who have not made the playoffs since the 2006-07 season -- remained three points behind.
Evgeni Nabokov made 21 saves for the Islanders.
The loss marked the eighth time this season -- and the second night in a row -- the Islanders have lost a game in which they led. The Islanders also fell to an NHL-worst 5-11-2 at home and 0-3 on their four-game homestand. Only two other teams, the Hurricanes and Panthers, have losing records at home.
The Islanders certainly looked like the team fighting to save its season in the first period, when they displayed more energy than the Penguins and controlled play on both sides of the ice. The Islanders held the Penguins without a shot on goal until the 11:53 mark and finished the period with a 14-3 advantage in shots.
In addition, enforcer Matt Martin tangled with Craig Adams less than four minutes into the game, which earned him an appreciative ovation from the Nassau Coliseum crowd as well as a five-minute penalty.
After peppering Vokoun with nine shots in the first seven minutes, the Islanders finally broke through following a faceoff, when Streit took a pass from Matt Carkner just inside the blue line and sailed a slap shot past Vokoun's outstretched glove.
The Penguins tied it 8:11 into the second when Vitale beat Nabokov with a shot into the upper right corner of the net for his second goal of the year.
The Islanders capped a three-shot flurry with 2:42 left in the second when Bailey put back the rebound of a John Tavares shot. But the Penguins tied it with just 14 seconds to play in the period on Kunitz's goal, which was set up by a pass from Sidney Crosby just in front of the goalmouth.
NOTES: The Penguins set the NHL record for longest winning streak when they won 17 in a row from March 9-April 10, 1993. The Penguins' bid for a third straight Stanley Cup was ended a little more than a month later by the Islanders, who upset Pittsburgh in seven games in the Patrick Division finals. That remains the Islanders' last postseason series win. ... Center Trevor Smith was active for the Penguins after he was recalled from their AHL club, Wilkes-Barre, earlier Friday. Smith last played in the NHL for the Lightning on March 29, 2012. ... The Islanders scratched defensemen Thomas Hickey and Radek Martinek and winter Eric Boulton. In addition to Letang, the Penguins also scratched defenseman Robert Bortuzzo and center Tyler Kennedy. ... The Islanders play their final set of back-to-back games April 1-2, when they visit the Devils and host the Jets, respectively.