Pens top Isles in OT, take 2-1 lead in series
Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Penguins spoiled the New York Islanders' long-awaited home playoff game on Sunday.
Chris Kunitz scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner on a power play 8:44 into overtime, and the Penguins bounced back with a 5-4 victory over the Islanders in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series from Nassau Coliseum.
"(That felt) really good, definitely to get the win there in overtime," Kunitz said. "In a game that had too many bad plays by us to be able to let them come back and get them in front, we did a good job of getting one in overtime."
Pittsburgh routed New York by a 5-0 score in the series opener at CONSOL Energy Center. However, New York bounced back with a 4-3 victory in Friday's Game 2 in the Steel City and the visitors overcame a 3-1 first-period deficit to do so.
The Islanders played their first home playoff game since April 18, 2007 against the Buffalo Sabres. With Sunday's defeat, New York has lost seven straight home playoff games.
Jarome Iginla, Pascal Dupuis and Douglas Murray also lit the lamp for the Penguins, who went 3-for-5 on the power play. Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves.
Kyle Okposo had a goal and an assist for the Islanders, who went 0-for-3 on the advantage. Matt Moulson, Casey Cizikas and John Tavares also scored.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 20-of-25 shots for New York, which will try to even this series in Game 4 on Tuesday.
The Penguins went on the power play at the 8:11 mark of overtime when Brian Strait took down Sidney Crosby in front of the net. Strait was sent to the penalty box for holding.
Crosby, who ended with three assists, set up the game winner. He controlled the puck along the goal line before sliding a pass to Kunitz, whose one-timer got past Nabokov.
After giving up four straight goals to fall behind 4-2, the Islanders scored twice in the third period. First, Okposo scored a short-handed goal at the 5:31 mark. The Penguins turned the puck over at the blue line and Frans Nielsen sent Okposo in on a successful breakaway.
Tavares' first career playoff goal tied the contest at the 10:48 mark when his wrist shot from the right circle got past Fleury inside the far post.
Pittsburgh could have ended the game in regulation twice, but a Matt Cooke offering rang off the crossbar shortly after Tavares' goal, and Murray also hit iron with about two minutes left in regulation. New York outshot the Penguins by a 13-3 margin in the third frame.
The Islanders used the energy from the crowd to jump out to a 2-0 lead inside the game's first six minutes.
Less than two minutes in, Okposo chipped away at a loose puck in front of Fleury. The Pittsburgh netminder appeared to have the puck pinned against the post, but Moulson came charging in and knocked the disc across the line.
It was 2-0 for the hosts at the 5:41 mark, when Michael Grabner's feed from behind the net set up Cizikas' one-timer from the left circle.
Pittsburgh switched the momentum by scoring the final three goals of the stanza. New York's Mark Streit and Travis Hamonic were sent to the penalty box in a span of 34 seconds, giving the Penguins a 5-on-3 power play at the 12:55 mark.
Iginla capitalized for Pittsburgh at the 13:18 mark. Crosby slid a pass from the bottom of the right circle to the high slot, and Kris Letang's point shot was deflected in by the former Calgary Flame.
Just 19 seconds later, the Penguins added another power-play goal. After receiving a lead pass from Evgeni Malkin, Kunitz split two Isles defenders and scored on a breakaway to make it 2-2.
"We came out and the crowd was electric," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "But the discipline on penalties, when you play an experienced team like that, that was obviously the turning point in the hockey game. Two power-play goals, special teams, they got the edge tonight and that's why they won the game."
Dupuis lit the lamp with one minute remaining in the opening frame. Crosby made his way down the right wing before backhanding a pass in front for Dupuis, who tipped the puck past Nabokov.
The Penguins made it 4-2 on Murray's shot from the left circle with 2:50 left in the middle stanza.
The Islanders' last postseason victory at Nassau Coliseum was a 5-3 defeat of the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on April 28, 2002 ... Letang, Malkin and Paul Martin each had two assists for the Penguins ... This is the fourth time the Penguins and Islanders are meeting in the playoffs. The Isles won the previous three series (1975, 1982, 1993) including an upset seven-game victory over the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pens in the Patrick Division finals in '93, which was the last time the club won a playoff series.
05/05 17:15:56 ET