Pittsburgh, PA – Kyle Okposo scored the winner in the third period as the New York Islanders rallied to take a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at CONSOL Energy Center.
Pittsburgh saw the return of captain Sidney Crosby, who had been out since March 30 when he suffered a broken jaw, and he scored two goals in the game, but the Islanders were able to bounce back from a 5-0 thrashing in Game 1 to even this best-of-seven series heading back to New York for the next two games.
Matt Moulson, Colin McDonald and Matt Martin all scored for the eighth-seeded Islanders, who received 30 saves from Evgeni Nabokov.
In addition to the two goals from Crosby, top-seeded Pittsburgh also got a goal from Evgeni Malkin, but all three tallies came in the first period and the team was stymied by Nabokov and the Islanders in the final two periods.
"I think we know we didn't play the way we needed to," said Crosby. "Obviously they got some bounces but they worked for them and I don't think we feel we did enough to deserve that one."
Marc-Andre Fleury was victimized by bad bounces all game and let in all four goals on 42 shots.
Game 3 of this series will take place Sunday afternoon.
The Islanders, who had a season-high 20 shots in the first period, continued to apply pressure in the second period and were able to tie the game.
It was a 3-2 game 5:12 in as a dump-in pass saw the puck come behind the net and from a sharp angle at the right side, McDonald chipped it to the front and it found its way past Fleury.
Just past the midway mark, the Islanders tied the game as Josh Bailey's shot from the slot went wide to the left of the net, but it came to the stick of Martin and he shot it past a surprised Fleury.
Pittsburgh had a chance to go back up when John Tavares was whistled for a high sticking double-minor with 3:29 to play in the second, but the Islanders were able to kill it off.
Another fortunate bounce for the Islanders led to the go-ahead goal as Okposo fired a shot from the slot that went wide to the left of the net, but it came back out front and Fleury inadvertently kicked it into the net while trying to cover it up for a 4-3 game with 7:37 to play.
New York stifled Pittsburgh's offense and was able to kill off a good chunk of the clock inside of two minutes to play when the team held the puck in the Pittsburgh end, keeping Fleury in the net.
The Pens finally got Fleury out of the net for an extra attacker with under a minute to play, but the team was unable to get any quality chances before time expired.
"We had our legs going," said New York head coach Jack Capuano. "After the first period, we had 20 shots on net. You could tell we were playing our game. Our guys are relentless. It only takes a couple shots to get back in the game. I knew if we continued to play the way we did in the first period, we would get on the score board and have some kind of success throughout the game."
It took all of 43 seconds for the Pens to take the lead as pressure deep in the Islanders zone saw Jarome Iginla throw it to the front from the left side where Malkin was able to chip it in for his first goal of the playoffs.
Less than three minutes later, it was a 2-0 game as a left circle faceoff win saw the puck come down low, with Iginla feeding the puck from the right to left for an easy tap-in by Crosby for a power-play goal.
New York's first power play of the game bore fruit for its first goal of the series as Moulson's sweep pass from the right side to the left hit off the stick of Paul Martin and went in at the 7:04 mark.
Pittsburgh got it back just 18 seconds later, as a rebound from Pascal Dupuis' shot in the slot went to the right side where Crosby snapped it home for a 3-1 advantage.
Nabokov had been chased from the net early in the first period of Game 1 after giving up four goals on 15 shots ... This is the fourth time these two clubs are meeting in the playoffs. The Isles won the previous three series, including a victory in the division finals in 1993 which was the last time the club won a playoff series ... Both teams were 1-for-4 on the power play ... Mark Streit had two assists for the Islanders ... Pittsburgh won four of the five games against the Islanders this season, including both games in New York.