Pittsburgh, PN, United States (4E Sports) – Kyle Okposo used his fighting and scoring skills, the latter being a late game-winning tally, to give New York Islanders a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center, Friday.
The win tied the playoff series 1-1 and was New York’s first in the postseason since April 14, 2007 against Buffalo.
It was the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin that drew first blood, scoring with a backhand from 10 feet assisted by Jarome Iginla 43 seconds into the game.
The league’s third-leading scorer Sidney Crosby followed suit, giving the Penguins an early two-goal lead via a wrist shot from 8 feet.
Islanders’ Matt Moulson scored in a power-play goal at 7:04 into the first period that cut the lead to 2-1.
But 18 seconds later, Crosby scored again with a wrist shot from 12 feet as the Penguins took a 3-1 lead and appeared ready to coast to a second straight win over the Isles.
The second period belonged to the Islanders as Colin McDonald and Matt Martin both scored to make it 3-all.
In the final period, Moulson assisted on Okposo’s game-winner with 7:37 to play.
New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano juggled his top two lines after Wednesday’s 5-0 Game 1 defeat, with Moulson no longer on the left of John Tavares, but on a second line with Frans Nielsen and Okposo. Josh Bailey took Moulson’s regular spot next to Tavares and Brad Boyes.
“Sometimes it’s funny how things work [after] a little tweak. I thought they played well,” said Capuano.
Doctors cleared the the league’s third-leading scorer Sidney Crosby to play for the Penguins after breaking his jaw, figuring to make New York’s task all the more daunting. But the Islanders counter-attacked effectively all night, peppering Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for 42 shots.
John Tavares was held mostly in check by the Penguins again, but did have a team-high six shots after having none in Wednesday’s game.
Capuano also inserted speedy forward David Ullstrom into the lineup for veteran Marty Reasoner, and subbed in hulking defenseman Matt Carkner to replace Thomas Hickey.