Islanders finish off Penguins 3-1 for stunning playoff sweep

 

 

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders’ turnaround season is heading to the second round of the playoffs.

Jordan Eberle scored for the fourth straight game, Robin Lehner stopped 32 shots and the Islanders finished off Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins with a clinical 3-1 win in Game 4 on Tuesday night to pull off a stunning sweep.

Josh Bailey set up Brock Nelson’s go-ahead goal late in the first period and added an empty-net score with 38 seconds remaining as the Islanders easily captured the franchise’s second playoff series victory in 26 years.

The Islanders trailed for less than five minutes across four games against the Penguins, whose 13th straight postseason appearance ended quietly. Pittsburgh managed just six goals in the series, including Jake Guentzel’s first of the postseason 35 seconds into the game.

It wasn’t nearly enough to stop the Islanders. New York allowed the fewest goals in the league during the regular season, and then backed it up with 12-plus periods of sound hockey that’s quickly become their calling card under first-year coach Barry Trotz, who led the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup last season.

The Penguins did their best to stay loose while trying to avoid getting swept in the first round for the second time in franchise history. Typically buttoned-down coach Mike Sullivan cracked a joke after Tuesday’s morning skate and did little to tinker with his lineup, adamant Pittsburgh could pick itself up off the mat if it got back to — as Sullivan so often puts it — “playing the right way.”

The team that began the playoffs with hopes of capturing its third Stanley Cup in four years looked ready to bounce back. For a couple of minutes anyway.

Guentzel found space in the slot and ripped a shot past Lehner 35 seconds into the game for the first goal of the series by Pittsburgh’s top line. The 574th consecutive home sellout crowd buzzed. The Penguins had the momentum and the lead.

Just as they did at every critical point during what became a lopsided series, the Islanders responded almost immediately.

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang whiffed while trying to pinch into the New York zone, creating a 2-on-1 the other way that Eberle finished to even it at 1 just 1:34 after Guentzel had put Pittsburgh in front.

The goal seemed to steady the Islanders, who settled in and kept it simple. New York posted the franchise’s best regular-season record in 35 years by limiting chances and relying heavily on Trotz’s system that preaches pragmatism and patience.

The Islanders weathered Pittsburgh’s early push and went ahead with 1:54 to go in the first period when Nelson slipped behind Penguins forward Garrett Wilson and darted to the net. Bailey’s pass from the below the goal line arrived right as Nelson flashed in front of Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray. Nelson flicked a shot over Murray’s right pad, and New York was back in control.

Another stellar defensive effort and a little bit of puck luck helped. Crosby hit the inside of the left post in the middle of the second period, and Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield bailed out Lehner by making a save with his left leg on a point-blank shot by Phil Kessel early in the third.

And that was it. When Bailey’s flip went the length of the ice and into the empty net, the Islanders’ bench erupted and the Penguins trudged toward an offseason that could lead to significant changes.

NOTES: Crosby’s assist on Guentzel’s goal moved him past Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman and into 10th place on the NHL’s all-time playoff points list (186). … Pittsburgh went 0 for 3 on the power play and finished 1 for 11 in the series with the man advantage. … The Islanders were 0 for 3 on the power play. … Lehner stopped 135 of the 141 shots he faced in the series. … Murray finished with 23 saves.

___

Scoring Updates: Penguins vs. Islanders Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 7:30 pm.

 

 

 First Second Final 
Pittsburgh Penguins

111
New York Islanders223
GoalsPenguins:
Jake Guentzel (0:35)

Islanders:
Jordan Eberle (2:09)
Brock Nelson (18:06)
Islanders:
Josh Bailey (19:22)

 

Islanders top Penguins 4-1 to take 3-0 series lead

 

 

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders are on the cusp of just their second playoff series win in more than a quarter-century.

Jordan Eberle scored for the third straight game, Robin Lehner stopped 25 shots and the Islanders rolled to a 4-1 victory over the stunned Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday to take a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal.

Brock Nelson added his second goal of the playoffs and Leo Komarov scored the first postseason goal of his career for the Islanders, who have pushed the star-laden Penguins to the brink of elimination.

Garrett Wilson scored Pittsburgh’s lone goal, a first-period deflection past Lehner that gave the Penguins just their second lead of the series.

It didn’t last. Eberle tied it 28 seconds later and Nelson’s wrist shot put New York in front to stay just 1:02 after Eberle’s third playoff goal in as many games.

Komarov’s third-period goal gave the Islanders more than enough breathing room, and Anders Lee put the Penguins away with an empty-net goal with 1:28 remaining.

Matt Murray finished with 32 saves for the Penguins, but Pittsburgh again struggled to generate any sort of offensive momentum against the Islanders. New York, which allowed an NHL-low 196 goals during the regular season, has surrendered just five in three games.

Pittsburgh needs a win in Game 4 on Tuesday to avoid being swept for the first time since the 2013 Eastern Conference finals against Boston.

If the Islanders felt any pressure while taking their first 2-0 postseason lead since the 1983 Stanley Cup final — when they completed their run of four straight championships by sweeping Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers — it didn’t show. Just as it did back home on Long Island, New York didn’t back down against the star-studded Penguins.

Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan downplayed the idea his team was “desperate” while facing a 2-0 deficit for the first time in his highly successful tenure. He still opted to tinker with his lines in search of a spark, elevating Dominik Simon to the top line alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel and putting Jared McCann — who sat out Game 2 with a lower-body injury — on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel.

Oddly, it was the fourth line that gave the Penguins an early lift when Garrett Wilson redirected a shot from the point by Marcus Pettersson past Lehner 12:54 into the first.

Yet the Islanders responded immediately. Eberle collected a pass from Ryan Pulock just above the goal line and flipped a shot short side over Murray’s right shoulder to tie it at 13:22. All of 62 seconds later, the Islanders were in front again when Nelson finished off a 2-on-1 by zipping the puck over Murray’s right arm.

Lehner made sure it was enough. Always seemingly in the right position, the 27-year-old never looked rattled. At one point he head-butted a loose puck out of danger, and New York’s aggressive forecheck and responsible play in its own end made sure he didn’t have to work too hard.

When Komarov’s score 10:27 into the third extended the lead to two, the Islanders were firmly in control and Pittsburgh’s postseason appearance inched closer to being the shortest of its 13-year run.

Scoring Updates: Penguins vs. Islanders Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 12:00 pm.

 

 

 First Second Final 
Pittsburgh Penguins

111
New York Islanders224
GoalsPenguins:
Garrett Wilson (12:54)

Islanders:
Jordan Eberle (13:22)
Brock Nelson (14:24)
Islanders:
Leo Komarov (10:27)
Anders Lee (18:32)

 

Eberle, Bailey help Islanders beat Penguins 3-1 in Game 2

 

 

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey scored in the third period and the New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 Friday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Anthony Beauvillier also scored and Robin Lehner stopped 32 shots to help New York open a postseason series with two wins for the first time since sweeping Edmonton in the 1983 Stanley Cup Final for the Islanders’ fourth straight championship.

Mathew Barzal had two assists in a chippy, physical game that featured a lot of hard hits and some skirmishes, especially in the first two periods — and also after the final buzzer.

Erik Gudbranson scored and Matt Murray finished with 31 saves for the Penguins, who have lost the first two games of a postseason series for the first time since the 2013 Eastern Conference finals against Boston.

Game 3 is Sunday at Pittsburgh.

After a turnover by the Penguins near their own blue line, Barzal sent the puck up to Eberle on the right side and he skated across the front and sent a backhand in at 7:54 of the third to give the Islanders their first lead of the night at 2-1.

Bailey, who had the overtime winner in Game 1 on Wednesday night, then gave New York a two-goal lead with a power-play score with 8:22 remaining on New York’s sixth man-advantage of the night. Devon Toews fired a shot that hit Anders Lee, and the puck came to Bailey, who put it in from the right side.

The Penguins pulled Murray for an extra skater with 2:44 remaining, but couldn’t take advantage. Lehner made a nice glove save on Phil Kessel from the right circle, drawing chants of “Leh-ner! Leh-ner!” from the raucous home crowd.

After a scoreless first period, Pittsburgh’s Matt Cullen had an open look at a rebound from the right circle 1:13 into the second that Lehner stopped with a pad save into his glove.

The Islanders had a 5-on-3 advantage for about a minute in the second period, but couldn’t beat Murray. The Penguins’ goalie then had a diving stop on Matt Martin in front about 7:44 in, and a stick save on a slap sot by Ryan Pulock 10 seconds later.

Brian Dumoulin hit a goalpost for Pittsburgh at about the 9-minute mark.

Gudbranson then gave the Penguins their first lead of the series as he took a pass from Evgeni Malkin and fired a one-timer from straightaway inside the blue line that beat Lehner’s blocker side and went in off the post with 9:24 remaining in the second. It was Gudbranson’s first career playoff point.

Beauvillier tied it with 6:35 left in the period with his first career playoff goal as he knocked in the loose puck in front after Murray was out of position following a save on Barzal’s initial try on a 3-on-2 break

While some of the Islanders began celebrating the goal, fights broke out to Murray’s left. Barzal was given a double-minor for roughing, while Pittsburgh’s Marcus Pettersson received a 2-minute penalty.

The Islanders outshot the Penguins 11-7 in the scoreless first period.

Lehner made a save on Sidney Crosby’s backhand try in front about 4 minutes in. Toews hit the right post with a long slap shot from straightaway from the blue line a little more than 5 minutes later. Phil Kessel was denied on a shot from the left circle with just under 7 minutes remaining

NOTES: Murray has lost consecutive playoff games for the fourth time. He also did it in Games 3 and 4 of 2017 Stanley Cup Final against Nashville, and Games 2-3 and 5-6 against Washington in second round last year. … Penguins F Jared McCann sat out due to an upper-body injury. He was replaced in the lineup by F Teddy Blueger, making his playoff debut. D Jack Johnson was back in the lineup after sitting out Game 1. He had played in all 82 games during the regular season. D Olli Maatta sat out to make room. … The Islanders, who were 3 for 50 on the power play over the final 22 games of the season to finish 29th at 14.5 percent, are now 2 for 8 in this series. … New York was 38-2-2 in regular season when scoring at least 3 goals, and is now 2-0 in playoffs.

UP NEXT

The series shifts Pittsburgh for Game 3 on Sunday and Game 4 on Tuesday night.

Scoring Updates: Penguins vs. Islanders Friday, April 12, 2019 at 7:30 pm.

 

 

 First Second Final 
Pittsburgh Penguins

011
New York Islanders013
GoalsIslanders:
Anthony Beauvillier

Penguins:
Erik Gudbranson
Islanders:
Josh Bailey
Jordan Eberle

Bailey lifts Islanders past Penguins 4-3 in OT in Game 1

 

 

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Josh Bailey scored on a rebound at 4:39 of overtime and the New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 on Wednesday night in the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.

Jordan Eberle had a goal and an assist, and Brock Nelson and Nick Leddy also scored for New York, which was opening a postseason series at home for the first time in 31 years. Robin Lehner stopped 41 shots.

Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin each had a goal and an assist, and Justin Schultz also scored for the Penguins. Matt Murray finished with 29 saves.

On the winning goal, Barzal brought the puck into the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 break, faked in front to draw Murray out and sent a backhand shot that bounced off the left post, but Bailey was there to knock it in.

Game 2 is Friday night back at the Nassau Coliseum.

Tom Kuhnhackl, who had a goal in the opening minute of the game waved off for offside, nearly won it for the Islanders 1:12 into the extra period as he crashed into Murray and the puck crossed the goal line but not before the net came loose. The no-goal was confirmed after a review.

The Islanders led three times in regulation with the Penguins managing to tie it each time.

Leddy gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead with 7:25 left in the third as he sent a long shot from left point at the blue line that knuckled past Murray.

With Murray pulled for an extra skater, Schultz fired a one-timer from the left circle past Lehner inside the left post with 1:29 left as the Penguins tied the score for the third time.

Bailey had a chance at the winner for the Islanders in the closing seconds of the third, but his shot hit the right post. It was the second time in the period a New York player hit a goal post as Matt Martin did it in the opening minute.

Malkin tied it 2-2 on a power play with 6:19 left in the middle period as his shot from the inside edge of the right circle deflected off Islander defenseman Adam Pelech’s stick and up past Lehner.

The raucous crowd that was chanting “Let’s Go Islanders!” from before the teams came out for pregame warmups, roared when the Islanders stepped on the ice and booed loudly when the Penguins followed. They got loud again in the minutes before the teams emerged from their dressing rooms for the start of the game.

Pittsburgh outshot New York 17-12 in the first period, but the Islanders led 2-1 after 20 minutes.

Just more than a minute after Kuhnhackl’s opening-minute goal was overturned, Eberle did give the Islanders the lead as he stopped a deflection of Pelech’s shot, turned and beat Murray through the five-hole from the right side for his first career postseason goal at 1:40.

The Penguins tied it when Dominik Simon brought the puck down the middle and dropped a pass back to Kessel, who put it past Lehner off the post and in at 5:42.

Nelson put the Islanders back in front on the power play as he got a pass in front from Eberle and put it past Murray with 4:14 left in the opening period.

NOTES: Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang are the only Penguins players remaining from the 2013 playoff series against the Islanders. New York has five players left — Nelson, Josh Bailey, Casey Cizikas, Thomas Hickey and Matt Martin. … Kessel also scored in each of the last three games during the regular season. … Malkin’s goal was his 63rd in the playoffs, breaking a tie with Bobby Hull for sole possession of 26th place on the NHL’s career list. … Islanders coach Barry Trotz and Penguins coach Mike Sullivan are facing off in the playoffs for the fourth straight year. The previous three were all in the second round while Trotz was with Washington, and the winner of Penguins-Capitals series went on to win the Stanley Cup each time.

UP NEXT

Game 2 is Friday night before the series shifts to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4.

Scoring Updates: Penguins vs. Islanders Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 7:30 pm.

 

 

 First Second Final 
Pittsburgh Penguins

123
New York Islanders224
GoalsIslanders:
Jordan Eberle (1:40)
Brock Nelson (15:46)

Penguins:
Phil Kessel (5:42)
Penguins:
Evgeni Malkin (13:41)
Islanders:
Nick Leddy (12:35)
Josh Bailey OT (4:39)

Penguins:
Justin Schultz (18:31)

Strome scores in OT to lift Rangers past Penguins 4-3

 

 

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ryan Strome scored 2:09 into overtime and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 Saturday night in the regular-season finale.

Brendan Smith, Brady Skjei and Vladislav Namestnikov also scored for New York, long eliminated from playoff contention for the second straight year. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 36 shots while starting for the second straight night. The Rangers snapped a three-game skid and won for just the fifth time in their final 21 games (5-10-6).

Sidney Crosby, Nick Bjugstad and Jake Guentzel scored for the Penguins, who earned a point to secure third-place in the Metropolitan Division and a matchup with the New York Islanders in the first round of the playoffs. Matt Murray finished with 26 saves while starting g20 of Pittsburgh’s last 21 games.

Skjei and Namestnikov scored 1:16 apart to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead with 6:10 remaining in regulation. Namestnikov’s go-ahead goal was the 15th short-handed score allowed by Pittsburgh, tied for worst in the league.

However, Guentzel tied it with his 40th of the season with 2:35 to play, becoming the 20th player in franchise history to reach the mark. Crosby, who scored his 35th earlier in the game, had an assist on the play for his 100th point. Crosby reached the mark for the sixth time in his career, and first time since 2013-14.

Crosby opened the scoring at 6:36 of the first period when he converted a one-timer from Guentzel during a 2-on-1.

Smith tied it with 7:11 left in the opening period as he beat Murray on a partial breakaway following a turnover by Garrett Wilson at center ice.

Bjugstad put Pittsburgh in front 2-1 at 2:28 of the third. Marcus Pettersson’s point shot deflected off the stick of Patric Hornqvist and went to Bjugstad, who put the puck in near the left post for his 14th.

Skjei tied it with 7:26 to play when he beat Murray with a wrist shot from the slot during a 3-on-2 for his eighth.

NOTES: Pittsburgh recorded 100 points for the 10th time in the last 12 full seasons. … Penguins D Brian Dumoulin missed his third straight game, but he skated Saturday morning. … Guentzel joined Chris Kunitz as the only players other than Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to lead the team in goals during the Crosby and Malkin era. … Guentzel, Phil Kessel, and Jack Johnson played all 82 games for Pittsburgh. Kessel played in every game for the ninth consecutive year, a total of 774 straight games. Pettersson, who spent time in Anaheim this season, led the league in games played with 84 this season. Mika Zibanejad played in every game for New York.

UP NEXT

Rangers: End of season

Penguins: Open the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs at the New York Islanders.

Scoring Updates: Penguins vs. Rangers Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 7:00 pm.

 

 

 First Second Final 
Pittsburgh Penguins

113
New York Rangers114

GoalsPenguins:
Sidney Crosby (6:36)

Rangers:
Brendan Smith (12:49)
Penguins:
Jake Guentzel (17:25)
Nick Bjugstad (2:28)


Rangers:
Brady Skjei (12:34)
Vladislav Namestnikov (13:50)
Ryan Strome (OT) (2:09)