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NHL PLAYOFFS : Ailing Penguins Get Defensive to Beat Islanders

May 05, 1993|From Associated Press

Take away Mario Lemieux, and the Pittsburgh Penguins aren't the same team--but they're still the team to beat for the Stanley Cup.

With a still-aching Lemieux sidelined because of another bout with back pain in Pittsburgh, the Penguins turned to defense, riding Tom Barrasso's hot goaltending to beat the New York Islanders, 3-0, Tuesday night in the Patrick Division playoffs to tie the series at a game apiece.

Lemieux's status for Game 3 Thursday probably won't be known until game time. He was expected to play in Game 2 after his sporadic back pain eased Monday, but the spasms reappeared on game day and Lemieux--who played only 2 1/2 minutes in Game 1--decided 10 minutes before the pregame warm-up he couldn't play.

The Penguins compensated by adopting the same conservative, tight forechecking style they used without Lemieux in the division finals against the Rangers last season. They are 5-1 in the playoffs over the last two years when Lemieux doesn't play.

"A couple of years ago, Pittsburgh was pretty much done when he wasn't in there, but with the increased depth we have here now, we have the talent to get it done over the short haul," defenseman Larry Murphy said. "Mario's the greatest player in the game, but we've still got talent on this team."

Barrasso turned away 26 shots in his fourth playoff shutout and second in seven games this season as the Penguins geared down their up-tempo offense to frustrate the Islanders, who clearly missed leading scorer Pierre Turgeon.

Joey Mullen scored his 100th playoff point, and his first in five games, at 4:37 of the first period. The other Penguin goals were scored in the third period by Rick Tocchet and Ron Francis.

Montreal 4, Buffalo 3--Guy Carbonneau scored 2:50 into overtime at Montreal as the Canadiens moved to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Adams Division series.

Ed Ronan won a race into the Buffalo zone and freed the puck for Denis Savard, who fed Carbonneau at the side of the net for the game-winner.

Buffalo's Doug Bodger tied the score 44 seconds into the third period with a disputed power-play goal from the point. Video replays showed that the Sabres' Yuri Khmylev was in the crease, but was pushed in and hadn't interfered with goaltender Patrick Roy.

Vincent Damphousse scored two goals for the Canadiens. Kirk Muller had the other.

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