The Islanders took the ice at Nassau Coliseum tonight putting their near-perfect 6-0-1 home record on the line. They also come in looking to jump into second place in the East division, leapfrogging Boston and Philadelphia. Tristan Jarry would be in net for the Penguins and Semyon Varlamov would be in net for the Isles.
Early on in the first, very similar to last Saturday’s game, the Islanders played a fast game, hustling to every loose puck. It was hard to find an early flaw with the way the Isles came out in the first period.
The Pageau line got an early chance but failed to capitalize, although this was one of many quality chances in the period for the Islanders.
Mat Barzal took a careless penalty with just over five minutes gone in the first period, but the Penguins failed to capitalize. The Isles even got a chance on the penalty kill, as Josh Bailey made a move around the Penguins defense but couldn’t beat Jarry.
Through the first ten minutes of the period, it looked like tonight’s game would be all Islanders. They had all of the momentum.
Shortly thereafter, the Islanders pressured again and got a few solid chances for the first goal. Jordan Eberle was clearly disappointed, looking skyward after the puck was frozen by Jarry.
Adam Pelech took a penalty for holding at 13:37, and the Penguins would get four shots on the powerplay, but they wouldn’t score.
Cody Ceci would take a penalty for interference at 18:07 elapsed in the period, and just 33 seconds in, the Islanders scored the first goal of the period. It was Brock Nelson with the powerplay goal assisted by Oliver Wahlstrom and Nick Leddy with just a minute and twenty seconds left in the period.
The Isles really put up a solid period in the first, out-shooting the Penguins 9-7. Pittsburgh did out-hit them 11-10 in the first period.
At the start of the second, the Isles again came out strong once again.
Twenty-six seconds later, Kris Letang netted the game-tying goal for Pittsburgh with assists from Kasperi Kapanen and Jake Guentzel, making the score 2-2. There were sixty-nine seconds between the three goals.
Mat Barzal re-acquainted himself with the penalty bench, this time going for cross-checking at 6:33, which didn’t lead to a Penguins goal.
Coming off the back-to-back Pittsburgh goals, the Islanders just looked flat. They didn’t seem to have any energy.
Later, with 14:51 elapsed into the second, Josh Bailey scored his first goal since January 31. Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson got the assists, giving the Isles a 3-2 lead.
The remainder of the period was all Islanders. It looked like they were a shot away from blowing this one open, and they almost did as Anders Lee hit the far-side post with time winding down.
The Isles and Pens both got 10 shots in the period, and the Isles out-hit the Pens 12-8.
Coming out of the locker room, the Penguins struck quickly. Jared McCann scored an unassisted goal to tie the game at 3-3 just eighteen seconds into the period. This was the first goal the Islanders have allowed in the first minute of any period all season.
The Isles deserve credit, though, as, after the goal, they came out with a sense of urgency. They were back to hustling for every loose puck again.
They continued to apply pressure almost non-stop until JG Pageau took a penalty for high-sticking at 9:58. Fortunately for New York, it once again ended with nothing for the Pens.
The Islanders continued to dominate the period after the penalty kill, not allowing a ton of chances for the Penguins. Even when they gave up extended zone time.
Bryan Rust had a late chance on the rush, but he missed the net entirely, and at that point, the two teams seemed to be content with overtime. And that was exactly where the game went.
The OT period was a ton of back-and-forth play with both teams trading chances. Classic 3-on-3 OT play.
The Isles had a bunch of chances, as they held the puck much longer than the Penguins in the period. A lot of their players were taking long shifts, and it showed.
With just twenty-two seconds left in the OT period, Kris Letang netted his second goal of the night, giving the Penguins a 4-3 win in overtime.
The Islanders fared much better tonight than they did in their two games in Pittsburgh last week, at least mustering a point out of it. They now have 24 points and are locked in a three-team tie for second place in the East division with Boston and Philadelphia. They are currently one point behind the Capitals for first place in the division.
The Isles will play their next game tomorrow against the Penguins again at 5 PM eastern at the Coliseum.
1st Star: Kris Letang – 2G, 1A
2nd Star: Brock Nelson – 1G, 1A
3rd Star: Sidney Crosby – 1G, 1A, 5 shots
Isles Three Stars
1st Star: Brock Nelson – 1G, 1A
2nd Star: Josh Bailey – 1G
3rd Star: Mat Barzal – 1G