Islanders beat Penguins again, sweep home and home

IRA PODELL AP Sports Writer Published:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- Sidney Crosby left briefly in the second period after being bloodied when he was struck in the face with the puck, but his return wasn't enough for the suddenly slumping Pittsburgh Penguins, who were beaten again by the New York Islanders, 5-3 on Thursday night.

The Islanders, who began the night in 13th place in the 15-team Eastern Conference, dealt Pittsburgh another big blow as the Penguins try to catch the New York Rangers atop the East. The Islanders knocked off the Penguins in Pittsburgh 5-3 on Tuesday night and completed the home-and-home sweep Thursday.

Pittsburgh trails the Rangers by five points with five games remaining. The Penguins, who hadn't lost consecutive games in regulation since Jan. 10-11, are trying to finish first to avoid being no better than the No. 4 seed in the East.