Kris Letang becomes 1st NHL defenseman with 5 points in a period, Penguins bury Islanders 7-0

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NEW YORK (AP) — Kris Letang became the first defenseman in NHL history to record five points in a period with five assists in the second for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who scored six times in the period and beat the New York Islanders 7-0 on Wednesday night.

Letang finished with six assists and was the first player at any position in Penguins history with five in a period.

“That’s an unbelievable feat when you think about it,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “Especially in today’s game when the parity in the league is so high. Against a good team like the Islanders, it’s not an easy thing to do. Couldn’t be happier for him, obviously he’s an elite player for us.”

Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin each scored twice in the second period for the Penguins, and Tristan Jarry finished with 21 saves for his fourth shutout of the season.

Rickard Rakell, Radim Zohorna and Valtteri Puustinen also scored for Pittsburgh. Marcus Pettersson picked up four assists.

Ilya Sorokin made 19 saves as the Islanders’ nine-game point streak on home ice (6-0-3) came to an end. Semyon Varlamov replaced Sorokin to begin the third period and made six saves.

Pittsburgh’s six goals came during a stretch of 10:27 in the second.

“After a break, the first period is always ugly,” Letang said after his record-setting performance. “After that, once your legs get going, your hands are coming back, we took advantage offensively, played in their zone, putting pucks at the net. … When you come back and you are about to win a game against a division rival like this and somebody you are chasing, it’s huge.”

Guentzel scored twice within 12 seconds to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead. He cleverly redirected Letang’s shot that was headed wide of the net past Sorokin prior to converting a breakaway.

Letang took advantage of a gap in the Islanders’ neutral-zone coverage and hit Guentzel with a pass in stride behind New York’s defense.

Islanders coach Lane Lambert called timeout between Guentzel’s goals in an effort to get control of the game, but the Penguins continued to convert and capitalize on the Islanders’ poor defensive structure.

“It’s timely,” Sullivan said of Guentzel’s goals. “Anytime you have those situations after goals are scored on either side, timeouts are taken or things of that nature, they’re opportunities for momentum to change or to build. When Jake scores that one, that was a huge one as far as building on the momentum that we already established.”

Malkin extended the lead to four goals when Reilly Smith found him all alone in the slot at 12:48. Malkin struck again later on a pass from Letang, his fourth assist of the period.

Zohorna capped off the six-goal period with his fourth of the season at 17:13.

“When you have momentum, you have to capitalize,” Pettersson said. “We stayed around the puck, we were hungry on the puck, everyone wanted pucks, it’s easy to play that way.”

Pittsburgh scored six goals in a period on the road for the first time since March 21, 2000, also against the Islanders.

Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson was on the ice for four goals while Pittsburgh outshot New York 20-7 in the middle period.

Rakell buried a loose puck that squeaked past Sorokin at 6:44 of the second period to kick off the outburst.

“It was just a very poorly played second period of hockey,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said. “Every time we turned around the puck was in our net.”

Puustinen converted a one-time feed from Letang midway through the third period for his first NHL goal.

UP NEXT

Penguins: Host St. Louis on Saturday.

Islanders: Host Washington on Friday.

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