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Nelson Again, Penalty Prone Penguins Dropped by NYI 4-3 in OT



Pittsburgh Penguins lines, New York Islanders

(PHN) — Brock Nelson beat the Pittsburgh Penguins again. Nelson scored two goals including the overtime game-winner Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. Nelson (7, 8) did it again Thursday in Brooklyn when he scored the go-ahead goal in the final five minutes then again scored the OT game-winner. The Penguins score in the final seconds forced overtime, but it wasn’t enough. New York earned points in 16 straight games and have 15 wins in that span as they beat the Penguins 4-3 in overtime at Barclays Center.

Patric Hornqvist returned to the lineup for the Penguins after missing the last six games due to a lower body injury. The Penguins and Hornqvist (6) crashed the net in the final seconds to tie the game and force overtime. On his knees, Hornqvist poked the puck through New York goalie Tomas Greiss.

Nelson’s late third period goal was a power-play goal from the faceoff circle. As Nelson and Penguins center Teddy Blueger fished for the puck, Nelson got a clean look and whipped top-shelf past Penguins goalie Matt Murray. Nelson drug the puck around Murray in OT for the winner.

“He stayed patient. He had two or three chances to shoot it,” Murray said. “He held onto it and made a nice play.”

The Penguins received another injury scare in the first period. On a day when the Penguins announced Nick Bjugstad would be out for eight weeks, and defenseman Justin Schultz would be out longer-term with a lower body injury suffered at practice on Wednesday, top-line winger Jake Guentzel appeared to dodge serious injury but was forced to leave the game midway through the first period. Guetnzel was cross-checked in front of the New York net as recalled Penguins defenseman Zach Trotman unleashed a slapshot.

The shot hit the fallen Guentzel on the back of the neck or top of the shoulders. He returned for the start of the second period but took two minor penalties on the same play midway through the second period. First, Guetnzel received a roughing penalty, then was assessed another two minutes for his negative opinion on the matter.

New York scored on the second of the two penalties. Anthony Beauvillier (8) snapped Derick Brassard’s rebound past Penguins goalie Matt Murray. Brassard has a five-game point streak (1g, 8a).

Evgeni Malkin put the Penguins best foot forward. Just one minute into the game, Malkin (4) dove to poke a rebound past New York goalie Tomas Greiss. The Penguins controlled the first several minutes of the game with puck possession and shots.

The Penguins also scored in the first minute of the second period. Bryan Rust outraced everyone for a loose puck in the neutral zone which resulted from a New York turnover in the offensive zone. Rust (8) rushed the New York zone and sniped the top corner over Greiss from the left-wing circle.

It was a gritty, tight-checking game and the goals reflected the style of play. Later in the first period, New York tied the game when New York defenseman Scott Mayfield’s (3) shot deflected off Penguins winger Zach Aston-Reese.

Aston-Reese was pushed to the Penguins scoring line in Guentzel’s absence.

Nearly half of the second period was played on special teams. New York had three power-play chances including the curious calls on Guentzel and the Penguins had one. Despite the power-play chances, the shot clock showed only 32 total shots, including 18 for the Penguins. Overall, New York had seven power-play chances and scored two power-play goals. The Penguin, conversely, had only three chances.

“If we don’t take that many, we probably end up with a better result,” Murray said.

The overall shot clock was 26-24 in the Penguins’ favor.

Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist was back in the lineup after missing the last six games due to a lower body injury. Defensemen Zach Trotman and Chad Ruhwedel completed the Penguins blue line in Schultz’s absence and Juuso Riikola was a healthy scratch.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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