Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – John Tavares recorded a goal and an assist
as the New York Islanders got the better of the Pittsburgh Penguins once again
with a 4-1 decision at Nassau Coliseum.
Tavares, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson all scored in the third period and
Jaroslav Halak came up with 27 saves to help the red-hot Islanders complete a
home-and-home sweep of the Penguins.
New York, winners in eight of its last nine, bested the Pens in a 5-4 shootout
in Pittsburgh on Friday.
“We really simplified our game in the third period,” said Lee. “The last six
or eight games, when we have that lead, we keep it really simple and it limits
The Penguins mustered only Evgeni Malkin’s first-period goal in dropping
consecutive games for the first time since Oct. 22-23. Thomas Greiss posted 31
saves in the loss.
Pittsburgh had carried a 1-0 lead deep into the second period behind Malkin’s
score and strong work out of Greiss, who stopped the first 21 shots he faced
before a failed clearing attempt by Pittsburgh in front of its own net led to
New York’s Matt Martin connecting on a backhand try with just under two
minutes remaining in the middle session.
“That was a big goal at the end of the second period,” said Tavares. “That
line has been playing real well for us. You saw how tenacious they were and
how hungry they were in front of the net. They kept that play alive.”
The Islanders carried the momentum into the third, moving ahead when Lee
successfully redirected Lubomir Visnovsky’s blast from the point 2:38 into the
Nelson made it a two-goal advantage just over seven minutes later, tipping
home an on-target feed from Frans Nielsen on a power play after Tavares
created the scoring opportunity in the Pittsburgh zone.
Tavares later put the contest out of reach by depositing a rebound of Johnny
Boychuk’s long drive into an open left side with 4:14 left to play.
“We didn’t give a very big push in the third period to give ourselves a chance
to win,” said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. “They raised their level and we
Malkin had the lone goal of an otherwise evenly played opening period. After
taking in a pass sent from the boards from Patric Hornqvist, the star forward
skated into the left circle and slipped a shot by Halak with 3:11 left in the
Pittsburgh had won in four straight and seven of its last eight visits to Long
Island coming in … Crosby managed just one shot after being held without
one in Friday’s matchup … Tavares scored for the first time in his
last 11 regular-season meetings with Pittsburgh … Nelson’s goal was his
team-best 10th of the season.