DeSmith helps injured Jarry as penguins line Islanders

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DeSmith helps injured Jarry as penguins line Islanders


PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins suffered a string of top-level injuries as they sprinted again in the race for first place in the Eastern Division.
Add goalie Tristan Jarry to the list of players on the board.

And add Casey DeSmith to the latest in a growing line of role players who have filled themselves up admirably in a pinch.

DeSmith made 19 saves after Jarry came out after the first period with an upper body injury and the Penguins held off the New York Islanders 2-1 on Monday night.

With just minutes between periods to prepare, DeSmith responded with a spectacular play as the Penguins even shot with New York for second in the East, beating the Islanders for the sixth time in eight games.

“I think we’re giving (the Islanders) a little bit of their own medicine,” DeSmith said. “We keep it simple. We are playing a grinder type game. ”

The Penguins haven’t had much of a choice in recent weeks with a squad that includes star Evgeni Malkin and forwards Kasperi Kapanen, Brandon Tanev and Teddy Blueger all sidelined. Still, they managed to put on a scorching march in which they posted a best 25 points in the NHL (12-3-1).

“We’re playing a full game,” said forward Jared McCann, who scored his eighth goal of the season in the playoffs of the first period. “We do the simple things to win the game. I know this sounds pretty cliché, but we work as a team. ”

McCann’s goal has given him five in his last 10 games. Anthony Angello added the first power play goal of his career. and John Marino assisted on both goals.

Yet it was DeSmith who led the way. He and Jarry have formed a powerful tandem over the past six weeks. He withstood an immediate flurry after entering and never wavered as the Penguins healed their two-goal explosion until the finish.

“We’ve been so good lately at advocating for leads,” DeSmith said. “I think that’s the biggest improvement with this team lately, is that we are really holding the lead. Chipping in, blocking hits. ”

SLOW START TO FISH ISLANDS

Matt Martin scored his seventh of the season for the Islanders and Semyon Varlamov made 20 saves, but couldn’t prevent New York from being swept away in their last two games in Pittsburgh.

Still, Martin was comforted by the way his team performed after being dismantled in a 6-3 loss on Saturday.

“Especially the second and third, I thought we were really on our game,” said Martin. “We had a lot of opportunities. Just hit a lot of messages. I think it was four in a row now that we were continuing the game. … We must better start moving forward. ”

The Penguins are the rare club to get the better of New York this season. The Islanders are 2-5-1 against Pittsburgh and 20-5-3 against everyone.

“It seems like we want to play their game more than we want to play our game when we face the Penguins,” New York coach Barry Trotz said. “I think we realize that. … I think we have a good understanding. ”

IMPROBABLE SOURCE

Angello, a control line forward known more for his physical style than his touch, found himself in a bit of a hurry in power-play duty. He paid immediate dividends. Angello planted his 6-foot-5 frame up front and hit home a backhand on a nice 4:24 Marino stream in the first.

“I tried to put (the pass) in the area near him and he’s a good enough player to play on that and put him in the net,” Marino said of Angello.

ZUCKER RETURN

Pittsburgh forward Jason Zucker played 13:04 returning from an 18-game absence with a lower-body injury. Only a spectacular save by Varlamov prevented Zucker from scoring his first goal since February 18.

NEXT

Islanders: Start a six-game home stay Thursday when visiting Washington. The Capitals have won each of the first three meetings between the clubs this season.

Penguins: Start a six-game road trip Thursday night in Boston. Pittsburgh is 1-2-1 against the Bruins.

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