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Islanders pull off tie with two quick goals

10/30/2003

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Just like always, it was Mario Lemieux who got
the rebuilding Pittsburgh Penguins going -- this time, with his
history-making 1,700th point. As usual, it was the other team that
had the big finish.

Lemieux became the sixth player in NHL history with 1,700 points
with an assist that started a four-goal run by Pittsburgh, but the
New York Islanders scored twice in the third period for a 4-4 tie
Wednesday night.

"I thought we were going to win the way we played the first two
periods," said Lemieux, who scored in his seventh straight game.
"It's disappointing."

Not necessarily to the Islanders, who are 9-1-1-3 in their last
14 games against Pittsburgh.

"It's bad the way we played in (Pittsburgh's two-goal) second
period," Islanders goalie Garth Snow said. "But in the hole two
goals in the third period and to come back and salvage a point,
it's good."

With the Islanders up 2-0 late in the first, Lemieux took
Konstantin Koltsov's pass along the right wing boards, slipped the
puck between the legs of defenseman Janne Niinimaa, then made a
backhanded pass to the slot to Dick Tarnstrom for his second goal
of the season.

"It's nice to get it out of the way," Lemieux said.
"Sometimes when you're going for a milestone, you try to do too
much."

Lemieux joins Wayne Gretzky (2,857), Gordie Howe (1,850), Mark
Messier (1,847), Marcel Dionne (1,771) and Carolina Hurricanes
captain Ron Francis (1,760s) on the 1,700-point list. Only Gretzky
reached the mark faster than Lemieux.

Lemieux's exceptional play not only halted what was threatening
to become another Islanders' rout of Pittsburgh, it was the first
of the Penguins' four straight goals -- a veritable flurry for a
team that scored only four goals in its previous three games. The
Penguins lost to the Islanders 7-2 Saturday night and are winless
in four games (0-2-2).

Martin Straka, rookie Ryan Malone and Mike Eastwood also scored
as the Penguins rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 4-2 lead.
Malone's first career goal came off Eastwood's faceoff win and put
Pittsburgh up 3-2 with the teams skating four-on-four late in the
second.

Eastwood made it 4-2 early in the third after Marc Bergevin
chipped the puck up ice to him and his shot deflected off Snow's
glove and trickled across the goal line.

But the Islanders, coming off a 4-0 loss at home Tuesday to New
Jersey, scored twice in a span of 2:48 to tie it as Jason Blake got
his third of the season and Mariusz Czerkawski evened it with his
eighth.

Oleg Kvasha corralled his own rebound in the left corner and fed
it to Czerkawski at the right of the net for his third goal in
three games, at 11:13 of the third.

"When we were down two, we felt we had the better team and we
had to show it," Czerkawski said.

The four goals were the most against No. 1 draft pick Marc-Andre Fleury, who began the game with the league's third-best save
percentage (.947). Fleury turned aside 35 of 39 shots and has faced
at least 34 shots in each of the five games he's started.

Shawn Bates scored short-handed at 8:03 of the first to give the
Islanders the lead -- the third time in Fleury's five games that the
initial goal against him was short-handed. The Penguins have
allowed a league-high five short-handed goals in eight games; 13
NHL teams began the night without a short-handed goal against them.

"It's the same thing, a bad decision at the blue line and
turning the puck over," Lemieux said. "We're not making the right
decisions."

The Penguins also went 0-for-8 on the power play.

Alexei Yashin made it 2-0 with his third goal, tipping in
Kvasha's shot from the right point.

Lemieux, the Penguins' owner-player, has 683 goals and 1,017
assists in an injury- and retirement-interrupted career that began
19 years ago. He got his 1,700th point in his 887th game; Gretzky
got his in his 711th game.

Lemieux has one goal and seven assists in eight games this
season. He needs 17 goals to become the seventh in NHL history with
700, a club that includes Gretzky, Howe, Dionne, Brett Hull, Phil
Esposito and Mike Gartner. Only Gretzky, Howe and Dionne have 1,700
points and 700 goals.

Game notes
Pittsburgh is 5-for-42 on the power play. ... The Islanders
are 4-2-2 in their last eight games. ... Lemieux has 128 points in
70 career games against the Islanders. ... Pittsburgh (1-4-3) has
scored as many as four goals only twice.