Parise scores late, Nelson nets 2 as Islanders edge Penguins
NEW YORK (AP) — Zach Parise scored the tiebreaker late in the third period and Brock Nelson added two goals as the New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on Friday night.
Anders Lee had two goals and an assist, Ilya Sorokin finished with 40 saves and the Islanders snapped a three-game skid that included two overtime losses. Mathew Barzal added two assists.
“We all look at the standings, we knew the importance heading into the game,” Parise said. “We got teams that are climbing behind us with games in hand, we got teams we are trying to catch, there is just not a lot of room for error.”
Rickard Rakell scored twice and Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist as the Penguins lost for the second time in three games. Casey DeSmith made 23 saves.
Kyle Palmieri bumped Penguins defender Brian Dumoulin off the puck and Nelson picked up the loose puck before feeding a darting Parise, who gave the Islanders a 5-4 edge at 17:17 of the third. With the win, the Islanders moved past the Washington Capitals in the wild-card standings and temporarily secure the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“To get that win against a team we are hunting down (in the playoff race) is huge,” Nelson said. "It’s a big two points, to get that in regulation is nice. The road doesn’t get any easier.”
The Islanders knotted the game at 4 when Nelson converted a one-time shot on the power play for his second of the game and team-leading 24th of the season at 5:01 of the third period. Bo Horvat won the offensive zone faceoff cleanly and Noah Dobson set up Nelson.
Nelson pulled the Islanders to within one goal at 14:25 of the second period and extended his point streak to a career-best 12 games. Mayfield’s long outlet pass sprung Nelson into the offensive zone and he completed a wraparound to cut the Penguins’ lead to 3-2.
Pittsburgh briefly reclaimed a two-goal edge at 18:57 of the second as Rakell scored his second of the game. Crosby corralled a loose puck near the top of the crease and set up Rakell for a simple one-time finish.
“I thought for the majority of the night our team was terrific,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I felt we were playing with the right intentions out there and unfortunately we couldn’t hold the lead.”
The Islanders trimmed their deficit to one for the second time to cap the middle period. Lee scored his second of the game as he inadvertently deflected Barzal’s shot past DeSmith.
Crosby opened the scoring at the 12-minute mark of the first period with his 25th of the season. The Penguins' captain found the puck under the Islanders goaltender and pushed it across the goal line.
Lee responded with a quirky goal at 13:56 of the first to even the score at 1. DeSmith stopped Lee’s initial attempt, but the Islanders captain located the puck on top of the Penguins goaltender and whacked it in. Marcus Pettersson’s turnover behind the net led to the Islanders scoring opportunity.
The Penguins scored twice in a span of 1:42 early in the second period to gain a 3-1 advantage.
Rakell picked up his 20th of the season and broke a 1-all tie at 3:53 of the middle frame. Jake Guentzel slid a pass between the legs of Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield and Rakell redirected the puck past Sorokin.
Zucker extended Pittsburgh’s advantage to two goals when he redirected Pierre-Olivier Joseph’s shot at 5:35.
“We turned the puck over too many times in the neutral zone in the first 40 minutes,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said. “We did a better job of getting it in deep and that led to a better forecheck."
NOTES: Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry skated prior to Friday’s game against the Islanders and is nearing a return. He has been sidelined with an upper-body injury since a 2-1 overtime loss against the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 22. … Crosby became the third player in NHL history to record 130 career points against the Islanders, joining Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux. ... Zach Parise appeared in his 1,200th career game and became the 12th active skater to reach the milestone, and the fourth active U.S.-born skater. … Lee became the ninth player in Islanders history to record seven or more seasons with 20-plus goals. … New York placed forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau on injured reserve, retroactive to Feb. 11. … Islanders recalled forward Andy Andreoff from their AHL affiliate and he made his season. debut.
Islanders: Visit Boston Bruins on Saturday.
Penguins: Host New Jersey Devils on Sunday.
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Scott Charles, The Associated Press