Letang scores late in OT, Penguins beat Islanders 4-3
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Kris Letang got his second goal of the game 4:34 into overtime, giving the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh, which won for the sixth time in eight games. Jared McCann also scored and Tristan Jarry made 24 saves as the Penguins beat the Islanders for the fourth time in five meetings this season.
Late in the extra period, Letang brought the puck up the ice and fired a shot that went off Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s stick, through the New York forward’s legs and into the top left corner. It was Letang’s fourth of the season, all coming against the Islanders.
“I think for defensemen sometimes that’s how it is,” Letang said. “You keep shooting and at one point you get rewarded. ... I just try to get open. I know we have tons of forwards that create offensively that get us the puck in good situations. That’s what I tried to do today again and I was able to finish.”
Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist, and Mathew Barzal and Josh Bailey also scored for the Islanders. Semyon Varlamov stopped 27 shots.
New York fell to 6-0-2 at Nassau Coliseum, remaining the NHL’s only team without a regulation loss at home. The Islanders went 7-2-2 in February — with all the losses coming against the Penguins.
“We just got to keep going,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “We had opportunities in the second to pull away a little bit and we weren’t able to. You just stick with it, you just collect points and the end of the day you hope you have enough (to make the playoffs), that’s plain and simple. Can’t dwell on it too much.”
The teams conclude their two-game weekend series back at the Nassau Coliseum on Sunday.
Both teams had chances in the extra period but the goalies came up with big saves until Letang’s winner.
“They’ve got some pretty heavy firepower,” Barzal said. “It’s a possession thing, trying to hold the puck as long as you can and just trying not to break down and give them a 2-on-1 because generally it ends up in the back of your net.”
McCann tied it at 3 just 18 seconds into the third. On a 2-on-1, McCann got a pass from Evgeni Malkin in the middle and beat Varlamov for his third.
It set the stage for Pittsburgh’s seventh win in eight games beyond regulation.
“The players have done a good job,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “They’ve committed to play on the defensive side when we don’t have the puck, but I think they’ve done a real good job with the puck. ... So much of the overtime is about possession.”
Barzal made it 2-0 at 1:34 of the second. He skated across the ice to the right side and fired a shot that deflected up off an extended John Marino’s stick and past Jarry.
With the Penguins on their third power play of the game, Varlamov fell back down after catching his skate on the ice as Crosby got a pass from Letang and fired a shot into the top right corner at 2:17.
Letang tied it 26 seconds later, getting a pass from Kasperi Kapanen from behind the net and firing a slap shot past Varlamov.
Bailey regained New York’s lead, scoring from in front off a pass from Anthony Beauvillier with 5:09 left. It was Bailey’s second goal of the season.
Jarry and Varlamov each made eight saves in the first period, with Varlamov stopping four attempts on Pittsburgh’s two power plays.
The Islanders got on the scoreboard on their only power play of the game late in the opening period. Oliver Wahlstrom sent a pass from the left circle to Nelson on the right doorstep, and Nelson deflected the puck up over Jarry for his sixth with 1:20 left.
Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck was a late scratch. He did not play after the first period against Boston on Thursday night due to an undisclosed injury.
McCann was activated off IR after missing Pittsburgh’s last seven games with a lower-body injury.
Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy had an assist on Nelson’s first-period goal, giving him eight assists in his last nine nine games. Nelson has four goals in his last seven games. Lee has three assists and eight points over the last eight games.
Crosby has 38 goals and 120 points in 72 career games against the Islanders for the highest scoring total of any active NHL player against one team.
The Penguins went 1 for 5 and are 4 for 21 on the power play over their last seven games following a season-high seven-game drought without a goal with the man advantage (0 for 20).
The Islanders are 8 for 23 on power play over last 12 games.
Kapanen’s assist on Letang’s second-period goal gave him 100 points for his career.
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