Islanders beat Penguins 4-3 in OT, point streak at 16
NEW YORK, NY – Brock Nelson came through in overtime again for the New York Islanders.
Nelson scored his second goal of the game at 4:16 of the extra period, lifting the Islanders to a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night to extend their point streak to a franchise-record 16 games.
Nelson, who also scored the overtime winner at Pittsburgh two nights earlier, got a pass from Mathew Barzal on the left side on a rush, cut across the front of a goal to avoid a defender and draw goalie Matt Murray out of position, and then backhanded it into the right side for his eighth.
“Good win by us, sticking with it. It was nice to get the win in overtime,’’ said the 28-year-old Nelson, a 2010 first-round draft pick who was playing his 500th NHL game. “We’ve won a number of different ways now on this run.”
Anthony Beauvillier had a goal and an assist, Scott Mayfield also scored, and Barzal had two assists to help the Islanders — who haven’t lost in regulation since Oct. 11 — improve to 15-0-1 during their streak while winning their fifth straight since an overtime loss to the Penguins here on Nov. 7.
New York had earned points in 15 straight games three times previously, the last during a franchise-record 15-game win streak in the 1981-82 season — before overtime or shootouts. That win streak came during the heyday of their run of four straight Stanley Cup titles from 1980-83.
Thomas Greiss stopped 23 shots for his eighth straight win — all coming during the Islanders’ streak — and ninth of the season.
“This team comes to work, comes to compete every night,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “We understand the importance of the right way to play.”
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, and Brian Rust and Patric Hornqvist also scored for the Penguins. Murray finished with 20 saves.
Nelson gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead with 4:52 left in the third, scoring off a faceoff just 4 seconds after Pittsburgh’s Sam Lafferty was sent off for tripping Beauvillier.
“We have a special group of guys in here,’’ added Nelson, who has four goals and five assists in a five-game points streak. “We have a lot of belief and confidence in everybody and we are finding ways to win.”
With Murray pulled for an extra skater, Hornqvist scored his sixth to tie it with 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Penguins outshot the Islanders 8-5 in the opening period and had a 10-9 advantage in the second. The Islanders had a 9-8 edge in the third and had the only shot in overtime — Nelson’s winner.
Malkin had opened the scoring for the Penguins at 1:04 of the first with his fourth. He now has 30 goals and 48 assists in his career against the Islanders.
Only injured teammate Sidney Crosby has more points among active players against the Islanders with 113. Crosby missed his fifth game since having surgery to repair a core muscle injury. The Penguins captain is expected to be absent from the lineup for six weeks.
Mayfield tied it with 4:48 left in the first on a slap shot from the point that eluded Murray. Mayfield’s third of the season.
Rust put the Penguins ahead 2-1 at 1:09 of the second with his eighth of the season and fourth against Islanders in three games. Rust has all of his eight goals plus four assists over the last 11 games. He also scored the overtime winner at Barclays Center two weeks ago, when the Penguins beat the Islanders 4-3.
The Penguins are 3-1-3 in their last seven contests, including the two overtime defeats to the Islanders this week.
“It’s hard when you give up two power-play goals,’’ Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “It makes it hard to win.”
Beauvillier tied it at 2 with a power-play goal with 8:22 left in the middle period. He scored from a sharp angle along the left boards for his eighth and extended his goal-scoring streak to four games, with six in that stretch.
Derick Brassard, who had an assist on the play, has nine points over the last five games with a goal and eight assists.
The Islanders had rallied from 4-2 third-period deficit on Tuesday to beat Penguins 5-4 with Nelson’s overtime heroics. He repeated recent history before a crowd of 13,212 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn before the Islanders head out for a three-game road trip to California.
“We find ways to win, with lots of character, lots of leadership,’’ Beauvillier said. “We focus on the process and when it’s time for overtime, we just want to get it done. That’s what we did again tonight.”
NOTES: The Penguins hadn’t allowed a power-play goal in 10 games coming in. ... The teams meet again on March 15 at Pittsburgh. ... Islanders F Matt Martin returned after missing nine games with a lower-body injury … Hornqvist returned after missing seven games. ... Barzal, who leads the Islanders with 20 points, has nine goals and 10 assists during the team’s 16-game streak.
Islanders: At San Jose on Saturday night.
Penguins: Host New Jersey on Friday night.
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