PITTSBURGH (AP) — Evgeni Malkin’s shootout goal capped a rally from a two-goal deficit in the third period and the Pittsburgh Penguins extended their winning streak to five with a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Pittsburgh’s second shooter of the shootout, Malkin walked in against Rick DiPietro — inserted into the game to relieve Evgeni Nabokov when the shootout began — made multiple dekes in close and slid the puck under a sprawling DiPietro with his backhand.
Chris Kunitz and James Neal scored 2:46 apart early in the third period less than a minute after Matt Martin had given the Islanders a 2-0 lead.
Frans Nielsen had a first-period goal for New York, which has lost four in a row overall and hasn’t won in Pittsburgh in almost four years.
The Penguins have won 12 consecutive home games against the Islanders.
The win was the first for Pittsburgh when trailing after two periods since April 3, 2010, against Atlanta. The Penguins (44-28) and Islanders (37-29) have two of the best all-time shootout records in the league, but this was New York’s first shootout this season. Islanders coach Jack Capuano made the curious move of subbing in DiPietro, who hadn’t yet appeared in a game this season.
DiPietro stopped Kris Letang to open the shootout, and Neal would miss the net on a shot after Malkin’s goal. Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stopped Nielsen and John Tavares, and P.A. Parenteau missed the net to end the game.
The Islanders led 1-0 after two, and Martin extended their lead to 2-0 just 45 seconds into the third, smacking the rebound of a Steve Staios shot between goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s legs for his first goal since March 22.
But Kunitz began the Pittsburgh comeback by getting that goal back 44 seconds later, tapping in a loose puck that was slid across the crease for him by Pascal Dupuis for his third of the season.
Neal tied it 2:46 after that while on the power play, finishing a pretty sequence of passes from Malkin to Kunitz to Neal. The goal was Neal’s ninth, tying him with Toronto’s Phil Kessel for the league lead.
Notes: Neal’s goal was only the second 4-on-5 goal the Islanders have allowed this season. Pittsburgh has not allowed any. The teams are the top two in the NHL in penalty-killing percentage. — The Penguins have outscored the Islanders 49-19 during the home winning streak against them. Pittsburgh is 17-2-2 in its past 21 against New York overall. — The Penguins are 8-0 when scoring at least three goals. They have not allowed more than three in a game.
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