Evgeni Malkin misplayed a puck at center ice and the New York Islanders stormed the Pittsburgh Penguins zone. New York winger Jordan Eberle neatly flipped a backhand into the net as the Nassau Coliseum erupted. New York again grabbed a third period lead and added to it as they dug the Pittsburgh Penguins hole deeper, 3-1 at Nassau Coliseum Friday night.
The Penguins have yet to find an answer for the grinding New York play and trail the series 2-0.
The game was tied in the third period until another Penguins mistake. Seven minutes into the final period, Evgeni Malkin misplayed the puck at center ice and Mathew Barzal was the beneficiary. Barzal jumped into the Penguins zone then sprung Eberle (1) nearly unabated to the Penguins net.
A few minutes later, New York scored a power-play goal which was the backbreaker. Josh Bailey (2) finished the rebound chance from the doorstep and the Penguins hopes were gone.
The teams had another melee after the final horn, too.
The first period was a wild but scoreless 20 minutes. Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson took a pair of consecutive minor penalties midway through the period. The second penalty was an interference call after he collided with New York defenseman Adam Pelech while racing to the bench from the penalty box.
The Penguins killed those penalties, a minor on Evgeni Malkin and survived two minutes at four-on-four just a minute after Malkin left the penalty box but initiated a face-washing scrum with New York forward Leo Komarov.
If the first period was wild, the second period was a free-for-all which culminated in a near line brawl after New York tied the game.
Later in the second period and just three minutes after the Penguins scored the first goal of the game, Mathew Barzal zoomed past Marcus Pettersson at center ice and a three-on-two became a two-on-one. Penguins goalie Matt Murray made one of his dozen sparkling saves, but Anthony Beauvillier poked the rebound into the net.
After the goal, Barzal was upset by a hit from Pettersson and threw punches which touched off a melee in front of the Penguins net. Only Barzal and Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson were penalized. Barzal earned a double minor for roughing while Pettersson only got two minutes and the Penguins got a power play.
The Penguins goal was a long-range slap shot from Eric Gudbranson. Midway through the second period, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin stole the puck at center ice and stormed into the New York zone. Gudbranson stepped forward to possess Malkin’s blind backhand pass and blasted it past New York goalie Robin Lehner.
The Penguins inserted Jack Johnson back into the lineup, in place of Olli Maatta. Johnson took a couple of first period penalties including a questionable call after colliding with a New York player as Johnson raced to the bench.
Jared McCann was a late scratch because of an upper-body injury.
Penguins goalie Matt Murray was nearly spectacular but stopped 31 of 34. New York goalie Robin Lehner stopped 32 of 33.
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