Islanders rally past Penguins to take a 2-0 series lead

NEW YORK —Nothing deterred the Islanders, certainly not scoring on their early power plays, nor their first deficit in their first-round series against the Penguins.

They played smarter and stood up physically to the Penguins in a chippy game with the scrums continuing after the final buzzer.

It all paid off in a dominant third period with two goals as the Islanders won, 3-1, to take a 2-0 series lead on Friday night before a delirious sell-out crowd of 13,917 at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.

Robin Lehner made 32 saves for the Islanders, who have won the first two games of a series for the first time since sweeping the 1983 Stanley Cup Final against the Oilers. The Islanders again held Sidney Crosby, who had just one shot, without a point.

The series shifts to Pittsburgh for Game 3 on Sunday afternoon and Game 4 on Tuesday night. A sweep will close the door on the Coliseum for this season as all subsequent rounds will be played at Barclays Center.

Jordan Eberle lifted a backhander over Matt Murray (31 saves) to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead at 7:54 of the third period, his second goal in the two games. In Game 1 Eberle scored his first career NHL playoff goal at 1:40 of the first period.

Eberle, in his second season with the Islanders and final season of a six-year, $36 million deal he signed with the Oilers, had 19 goals and 18 assists in 78 regular-season games. It was the fewest points he’s had over an 82-game schedule in his nine NHL seasons.

But he had six goals and one assist in 14 games after coach Barry Trotz put Eberle back on Barzal’s right wing for a 2-0 win over the Blue Jackets at the Coliseum on March 11.

“It’s been a whirlwind year,” Eberle said. “I didn’t have a great start to the year and, offensively, the puck didn’t go in as much as I wanted. The last 20 games, near the end of the season, I really turned it on and started to get some confidence. Any time the puck goes in the net you get that.”

Josh Bailey’s power-play goal at 11:38 of the third, off a rebound of Devon Toews’ shot, made it 3-1 as the Islanders finally converted on their sixth man-advantage chance.

The Islanders could not convert on two more power plays in the second period, including 54 seconds of five-on-three play that generated two shots as defenseman Erik Gudbranson high-sticked Barzal at 4:31 with Sidney Crosby already off for hooking.

Almost predictably, the Penguins took a 1-0 lead after the Islanders couldn’t take advantage of their power plays, with Gudbranson connecting from the blue line at 10:36 of the second period.

But Anthony Beauvillier led a two-on-one rush with Barzal and punched in the rebound to tie the game at 1 at 13:25 of the second period after Murray stopped Barzal.

As Beauvillier celebrated, Barzal and Gudbranson wrestled on the ice as a scrum erupted between the teams. Barzal received a double-minor for roughing to Gudbranson’s two minutes and the two continued yelling at each other from their respective penalty boxes.

The Penguins made it clear from the opening faceoff they wanted to match the Islanders’ physical play from Game 1, except it led to three power-play chances for the Islanders in the first period. Defenseman Jack Johnson’s interference on Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech in the neutral zone —he ran him over at 15:47 as he came out of the penalty box without the puck in the area —was among the more reckless plays.

But the Islanders managed just three shots on net in their 5:05 of man-advantage time in the first period, though Murray did have to make some tough saves. Most notably, he stopped Anders Lee’s redirection in the low slot at 13:46, then turned aside Bailey’s one-timer from the right circle and Brock Nelson’s rebound try at the near post. In the second period, he stretched with his glove to stop Matt Martin at the right post at 7:44.

Murray also got his right pad on Nick Leddy’s four-on-four rush off a defensive-zone faceoff win at 17:02 of the first period.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Town of Ponoka and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) have ratified a new agreement, averting a strike. (File photo from Facebook)
Alberta gov’t ‘using pandemic as shield to lay off workers,’ says AUPE

The Government of Alberta’s “attacks on workers” is continuing with a new… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House RCMP, EMS, Search and Rescue, STARS air ambulance and Alstrom Helicopters worked together to rescue a fallen ice climber Friday. (Photo contributed by Rocky Mountain House RCMP)
Rocky Mountain House RCMP help rescue fallen ice climber

Rocky Mountain RCMP helped assist a fallen ice climber Friday afternoon. At… Continue reading

Students Association of Red Deer College president Brittany Lausen says she’s pleased the college is offering students a choice to attend class in-person or remotely. (Red Deer Advocate file photo)
Red Deer College winter term enrolment dips

Enrolment down about six per cent but mix of online and in-person instruction is going over well

Brett Salomons, of Salomons Commercial, and Mark Jones, CEO of the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, in the CACAC's new temporary home. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre’s One Day Challenge returns

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre has announced its One Day Challenge is… Continue reading

Dwayne Buckle, 40 of Red Deer finished a 1,638-kilometre walk, in honour of his family. The 12-week, 82 day-journey wrapped up in Port Hardy, B.C. on Monday. Facebook photo
Red Deer man completes 1,638 km hike for cancer research

Dwayne Buckle, a Red Deer firefighter returned home Friday after his 12-week journey

A Suncor logo is shown at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Body of worker whose bulldozer fell through ice on inactive tailings pond recovered

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Oilpatch giant Suncor says the body of a… Continue reading

A restaurant manager in Orlando used a sign to secretly ask an 11-year-old boy if he needs help from his family after they were spotted withholding food from him. (Photo courtesy Orlando Police Department)
WATCH: Restaurant manager uses secret note to ‘rescue’ child, says Orlando Police

The manager of an Orlando restaurant is receiving praise from police after… Continue reading

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will cripple struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

VICTORIA — A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Quebec and Ontario, the two provinces hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic,… Continue reading

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. A young snowshoer who set out alone on a rugged mountain trail on Vancouver's north shore Thursday has died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Snowshoer dies after overnight search on Vancouver-area mountain: RCMP

SQUAMISH, B.C. — A snowshoer who set out alone on a rugged… Continue reading

‘It was joyous:’ Sun returns to some Nunavut communities for first time in weeks

IQALUIT — A sliver of orange rose over Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, earlier… Continue reading

People take photos through the extensive security surrounding the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, ahead of the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Susan Walsh
Less pomp, very different circumstances as D.C. prepares to inaugurate Biden, Harris

WASHINGTON — Some pomp. Very different circumstances. Inauguration day is supposed to… Continue reading

Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu (88) and Nikolaj Ehlers (27) defend against Jansen Harkins (12) during scrimmage at their NHL training camp practice in Winnipeg, Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Winnipeg Jets cancel practice due to possible COVID-19 exposure

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets have cancelled their practice today due to… Continue reading

Most Read