Crosby's OT magic lifts Pens over Islanders
Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Sidney Crosby's second goal of the night, coming with 1:16 remaining in overtime, sent Pittsburgh past the New York Islanders, 3-2, at Nassau Coliseum.
Crosby stripped John Tavares just outside the Isles' blue line, then skated back into the zone, split a pair of defenders, and chipped the puck on the backhand past Anders Nilsson to end the game.
"It was a highlight reel goal and you'll see it again, I'm sure," said Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. "The work ethic, backcheck battle, wins the puck, it didn't look like good odds. He cut thru the D and that puck found a way in."
James Neal contributed the other score and Evgeni Malkin picked up two helpers for the Penguins, who have won four in a row and seven of their last nine.
Marc-Andre Fleury came up with 31 stops for the Metropolitan Division leaders.
Kyle Okposo tallied twice and Tavares assisted on both for the Islanders, who extended their season-high losing skid to seven games (0-5-2). Nilsson made 21 saves in the setback.
"We've got to find a way to get two points," Okposo said. "We got a big [penalty] kill in OT and we've got to find a way to pull one out. "We sat back too much."
New York collected the game's first goal, just prior to the midway point of the first period. Okposo waited until he was near the goal line on the left wing to attempt a centering feed to Tavares, who crashed the crease and dragged several players and the puck over the goal line. A brief review confirmed no illegal action.
Okposo doubled the hosts' advantage just over three minutes later on a cleaner goal, a bullet from the right wing on a dish from Tavares. He had two more golden chances to finish off a natural hat trick with 2 1/2 minutes left, but rang one shot off the crossbar and narrowly missed a Tavares centering feed.
"I just didn't see it," Fleury admitted. "It was in the clear, then he pump- faked and, I don't know, somebody skated by, and it went under my glove."
Neal got a goal back for the Pens with 16 seconds left in the second period, tapping in a Malkin feed at the right post in the early portion of a Tavares cross-checking minor.
Frans Nielsen was obstructed from a clean shot 10 seconds into a Pittsburgh advantage thanks to a slash from Pens defenseman Kris Letang, and was awarded a penalty shot with 6:53 played in the third. Fleury closed off all shooting angles and forced a shot low and just wide of the left post.
Later in the power play, and with 12 minutes left in regulation, a blast from the right circle by Crosby tied the score.
The Islanders had a power play with 1:47 left regulation, and despite several close chances, couldn't beat Fleury. A controversial slashing call on Thomas Vanek, after the former Sabres winger was subjected to the same treatment, made it 4-on-4 with 23.4 seconds left.
"That one is probably on me," Vanek said. "I lost my cool. It's frustrating when you see the ref 15 feet away and two blatant slashes on me, but I shouldn't have lost my cool. I cost our team the win."
Pittsburgh has won six of the last seven contests against the Islanders, including two of three this season ... Neal unleashed a game-high eight shots on net, with Malkin taking seven of his own ... Both teams are in action on Thursday, as the Penguins host San Jose and the Isles start a five-game road trip in St. Louis.
12/04 01:58:00 ET