Sidney Crosby created time and space in overtime, and that was all the defending Stanley Cup champions needed to cap a bounce-back victory.

Crosby faked a slap shot and deked around a defender to set up Kris Letang's goal 1:24 into OT, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Islanders 3-2 to rebound from a blowout loss.

Crosby sidestepped Brock Nelson at the right point and inched closer to the net before dishing to Letang, who swooped around the cage and one-timed it from the left side.

"It's an elite play by an elite player," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.

Pittsburgh lost 7-1 to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, its biggest defeat during Sullivan's nearly yearlong tenure.

"I think all of us want to have a response after we're all disappointed in one another," Sullivan said. "So, we knew that's not our identity and that's not this team."

Matt Murray had 20 saves for the Penguins, who have won eight of 11 and can tie the New York Rangers atop the Metropolitan Division by beating Buffalo on Saturday night.

The last-place Islanders dropped their fourth straight and are mired in a 1-3-4 stretch. Jaroslav Halak withstood a barrage of chances in the third period and stopped 32 shots while making his seventh straight start.

"We took a good team to overtime," New York coach Jack Capuano said. "Unfortunately for our guys, it's just one of those things — 3 on 3.

"There's no moral victories in this game," he added. "We played a tough opponent and they played well."

Capuano shuffled his lines to get Ryan Strome with first-unit center John Tavares, but the offense came from elsewhere. Nelson scored on a power play early in the second period, and rookie Anthony Beauvillier got his second goal 42 seconds later.

The Penguins had lost two of three and hobbled into New York with health concerns. Patric Hornqvist has a concussion and did not play, Chris Kunitz was a game-time decision with a lower-body injury and Murray left the loss to the Capitals after being hit in the head in the first period.

Kunitz played and assumed Hornqvist's role as net-front pest on the Penguins' power play, helping Pittsburgh score first during a dominant opening period. With Nelson in the box for charging, Kunitz fed the puck to Letang, then skated toward the slot while Letang shot from the right point. The rebound skipped to Crosby alone below the right faceoff dot, and with Halak still searching for the puck, Crosby one-timed it in from an odd angle.

Pittsburgh outshot New York 16-5 in the first period, but then the defending Stanley Cup champs got sloppy.

Evgeni Malkin was called for roughing after the end of the first period, and New York scored on the power play early in the second. Nelson controlled a nice pass from Strome before firing from atop the faceoff circles, beating Murray for his fifth goal 1:51 in.

Beauvillier then gave New York the lead after Letang turned the puck over near his own blue line. Beauvillier scooped up the defenseman's gift, skated in alone and went around Murray forehand-to-backhand.

"We let up a little bit there and they got some momentum off that power-play goal," Crosby said. "But I thought we handled it well."

After an uneasy 10 minutes for Pittsburgh, Malkin forced a turnover that led to the tying goal. The puck ended up behind New York's net, and Phil Kessel flicked it back toward center ice amid a scrum. An undefended Trevor Daley one-timed it past Halak with 6:05 left in the second.

The Penguins haven't lost consecutive games in regulation in nearly a year. Pittsburgh lost its first four games — all in three periods — under Sullivan last December, but since then, they're 12-0-1 following a regulation defeat.

NOTES: Hornqvist is day to day and did not skate Friday morning. ... Islanders D Dennis Seidenberg has been out since a puck hit him in the jaw Saturday at Florida. He skated Friday while wearing a face guard, but is not close to returning. Capuano said Seidenberg is still having trouble eating. ... Isles D Ryan Pulock, out four to six weeks with a lower-body injury, also skated Friday morning but did not play.

UP NEXT

Penguins: Play at the Sabres on Saturday night, then begin a pivotal home-and-home series with the Rangers in Pittsburgh on Monday.

Islanders: Begin a three-game California trip at Anaheim on Tuesday night.

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Follow Jake Seiner on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jake_seiner