Islanders stun Penguins after comeback win evens series
By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (87) scores against the New York Islanders during NHL playoff action in Pittsburgh May 3, 2013. (REUTERS/David DeNoma)
PITTSBURGH - It had the smell of a resounding rout.
The Pittsburgh Penguins had captain Sidney Crosby back in the lineup for Game 2 of their opening-round playoff series against the New York Islanders and Crosby, who had been out since March 30 with a broken jaw, quickly scored two goals to help the Penguins build a 3-1 lead just seven minutes old.
It had the feel of an impending sweep.
But now, after a display of some remarkable determination, the Islanders will be home for Game 3 Sunday with the chance to take the lead after their 4-3 win Friday night.
The Islanders' win and the way it was accomplished, running the Penguins ragged down low and putting a couple of bounces behind goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, have opened up some old wounds here about the Penguins' psyche and their ability to defend in the playoffs.
"We were in good shape and we let it slip away," said Penguins winger Jarome Iginla.
The eighth-seeded Islanders, who had 13 players making their playoff debut and looked a little overwhelmed by the moment in their shutout loss in Game 1, got a spark from a scrap by forward Kyle Okposo, who was defending teammate Matt Moulson after a hit by Pittsburgh's Matt Niskanen.
Okposo then scored the winner with about seven minutes to go in the third period on a play that typified the Islanders' game and was indicative of the way they played for most of this season.
They put pressure on the Penguins with a good, well-supported rush, got a puck to the net and had Fleury misplay a carom off the backboards into a goal.
"When you play the right way, good things happen," said Okposo, "and we played the right way as a team tonight."
Okposo opened a big cut on Niskanen's left cheek after he left Moulson cringing with a hit early in the second period.
Fourteen seconds after that, New York's Colin McDonald made it 3-2, jamming a puck in. Matt Martin tied it 10:37 when he buried a carom off the end boards.
"It was a big moment in the game," said Islanders centre John Tavares of Okposo's fight. "It's not his forte, but he's a big, strong guy and a heck of a leader in our locker room. Kyle stepped up at a good time for a teammate. Any time you see someone sacrifice like that at this time of year, it goes a long way."