UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Islanders’ power play seemingly disappeared during the final quarter of the regular season, but here in the playoffs, it’s back with a vengeance and now New York has done something fans haven’t seen in 36 years.
Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey scored in the third period and the Isles beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 Friday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Anthony Beauvillier also scored and Robin Lehner stopped 32 shots to help New York open a postseason series with two wins for the first time since sweeping Edmonton in the 1983 Stanley Cup Final for the Islanders’ fourth straight championship.
Mathew Barzal had two assists in a chippy, physical game that featured a lot of hard hits and some skirmishes, especially in the first two periods — and also after the final buzzer.
Erik Gudbranson scored and Matt Murray finished with 31 saves for the Penguins, who have lost the first two games of a postseason series for the first time since the 2013 Eastern Conference finals against Boston.
Game 3 is Sunday at Pittsburgh.
After a turnover by the Penguins near their own blue line, Barzal sent the puck up to Eberle on the right side and he skated across the front and sent a backhand in at 7:54 of the third to give the Islanders their first lead of the night at 2-1.
Bailey, who had the overtime winner in Game 1 on Wednesday night, then gave New York a two-goal lead with a power-play score with 8:22 remaining on New York’s sixth man-advantage of the night. Devon Toews fired a shot that hit Anders Lee, and the puck came to Bailey, who put it in from the right side.
The Penguins pulled Murray for an extra skater with 2:44 remaining, but couldn’t take advantage. Lehner made a nice glove save on Phil Kessel from the right circle, drawing chants of “Leh-ner! Leh-ner!” from the raucous home crowd.
After a scoreless first period, Pittsburgh’s Matt Cullen had an open look at a rebound from the right circle 1:13 into the second that Lehner stopped with a pad save into his glove.
The Islanders had a 5-on-3 advantage for about a minute in the second period, but couldn’t beat Murray. The Penguins’ goalie then had a diving stop on Matt Martin in front about 7:44 in, and a stick save on a slap sot by Ryan Pulock 10 seconds later.
Brian Dumoulin hit a goalpost for Pittsburgh at about the 9-minute mark.
Gudbranson then gave the Penguins their first lead of the series as he took a pass from Evgeni Malkin and fired a one-timer from straightaway inside the blue line that beat Lehner’s blocker side and went in off the post with 9:24 remaining in the second. It was Gudbranson’s first career playoff point.
Beauvillier tied it with 6:35 left in the period with his first career playoff goal as he knocked in the loose puck in front after Murray was out of position following a save on Barzal’s initial try on a 3-on-2 break
While some of the Islanders began celebrating the goal, fights broke out to Murray’s left. Barzal was given a double-minor for roughing, while Pittsburgh’s Marcus Pettersson received a 2-minute penalty.
The Islanders outshot the Penguins 11-7 in the scoreless first period.
Lehner made a save on Sidney Crosby’s backhand try in front about 4 minutes in. Toews hit the right post with a long slap shot from straightaway from the blue line a little more than 5 minutes later. Phil Kessel was denied on a shot from the left circle with just under 7 minutes remaining
Murray has lost consecutive playoff games for the fourth time. He also did it in Games 3 and 4 of 2017 Stanley Cup Final against Nashville, and Games 2-3 and 5-6 against Washington in second round last year.
The Islanders, who were 3-for-50 on the power play over the final 22 games of the season to finish 29th at 14.5 percent, are now 2-for-8 in this series. New York was 38-2-2 in regular season when scoring at least 3 goals, and is now 2-0 in playoffs.
The series shifts Pittsburgh for Game 3 on Sunday and Game 4 on Tuesday night.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)