Islanders 5, Penguins 4 (SO)

Cory Wright | Friday, 11.21.2014 / 10:56 PM

Kyle Okposo’s shootout winner capped off a thriller, as the New York Islanders defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 at CONSOL Energy Center on Friday night.

Okposo’s winner, which featured some dizzying stick-handling and a forehand finish, settled a back-and-forth contest between the Metropolitan Division rivals. The Islanders had two separate two-goal leads, but the Penguins rallied late forcing the division foes to go the distance in game one of a back-to-back, home-and-home set.

“This has been one of our biggest rivals over the last few years,” Matt Martin said. “Playing them back to back is going to be even more aggressive. They are the team we are chasing in the standings and we’d like two more points tomorrow. It was a good start tonight.”

The Islanders conceded the game’s first goal to Brandon Sutter 1:13 into the contest, but quickly regrouped, as Martin, Nikolay Kulemin and Ryan Strome scored three goals in 95 seconds, putting the Islanders up midway through the first.

Martin’s tally was his first of the season, as the Isles tough guy took a stretch pass from Travis Hamonic, skated down the wing and snapped a wrist shot short-side on Marc-Andre Fleury. Kulemin lit the lamp 29 seconds later, stripping Paul Martin of the puck, cutting into the slot and beating Fleury with a quick snap. Strome, who finished with a game-high three points (one goal, two assists) and the first star, rounded out the blitz, deflecting a Thomas Hickeyshot off his shin guards past the Pens goalie.

Former-Islander Blake Comeau cut into the Islanders lead at the end of the first period, but Nick Leddy restored the two-goal margin 5:42 into the second. Anders Lee and Strome worked the puck down low while Leddy pinched off the point for the one-timer.

The Penguins refused to quit, as Nick Spaling made it a 4-3 game 8:50 into the second period, while Patric Hornqvist tied the score 13 minutes into the final frame, setting up a tense, but thrilling conclusion.

“The second period was tough,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “We turned some pucks over, we did some things we normally don’t do, but we were resilient and we came back. In the shootout we came through."

Both teams had grade-A chances to end the game ahead of the shootout, but neither could convert. Casey Cizikas had the Islanders best chance, but deflected the puck off the post on a two-on-one with Martin with five minutes to play, while Hickey tipped a puck over the net with 11 seconds to go in regulation.

The Penguins had their opportunity in overtime, when Kris Letang nearly won the game on a wraparound, but Johnny Boychuk stuffed Letang’s opportunity on the Isles goal line, forcing the bonus round.

“We won the game, but we think we can still be better,” Stome said. “There are a lot of things to draw from that, but to come out with the win and not play our best is a good feeling.”

Chad Johnson made 26 saves in regulation and stopped two-of-three shootout opportunities, while Fleury stopped 31 shots in regulation, but allowed shootout goals to Okposo and Frans Nielsen.

The win improved the Islanders record to 5-0 in overtime/shootout contests, as well as preserved the Islanders perfect record (7-0-0) when leading after two periods.

The Islanders and Penguins don’t have a lot of time to digest Friday’s game, as the rivals renew hostilies Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
01:13PIT Brandon Sutter (6) ASST: Paul Martin (4), Steve Downie (7) 1 - 0 PIT
08:18NYI Matt Martin (1) ASST: Travis Hamonic (2), Ryan Strome (10) 1 - 1 Tie
08:47NYI Nikolay Kulemin (4) ASST: NONE 2 - 1 NYI
09:53NYI Ryan Strome (4) ASST: Thomas Hickey (4), Josh Bailey (4) 3 - 1 NYI
16:34PIT Blake Comeau (5) ASST: Chris Kunitz (9), Olli Maatta (6) 3 - 2 NYI
2nd Period
05:42NYI Nick Leddy (5) ASST: Ryan Strome (11), Anders Lee (1) 4 - 2 NYI
08:50PIT Nick Spaling (3) ASST: Patric Hornqvist (12), Evgeni Malkin (14) 4 - 3 NYI
3rd Period
13:00PIT Patric Hornqvist (10) ASST: Evgeni Malkin (15), Christian Ehrhoff (6) 4 - 4 Tie
OT Period
1PITEvgeni Malkin - Missed
2NYIJohn Tavares - Save
3PITSidney Crosby - Goal
4NYIFrans Nielsen - Goal
5PITBrandon Sutter - Save
6NYIKyle Okposo - Goal
Shootout Summary
RNDPittsburgh PenguinsNew York Islanders
1Evgeni MalkinJohn Tavares
2Sidney CrosbyFrans Nielsen
3Brandon SutterKyle Okposo
Three Stars of the Game
Ryan Strome
Ryan Strome
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 13:48
Kyle Okposo
Kyle Okposo
G: 0Shots: 2
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 0PIM: 0
+/-: -1TOI: 20:10
Patric Hornqvist
Patric Hornqvist
G: 1Shots: 5
A: 1Hits: 2
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: -1TOI: 18:50
Penalty Summary
1st Period
05:59PIT Kris Letang  Hooking against  Casey Cizikas
2nd Period
05:59NYI Matt Martin  Fighting (maj) against  Robert Bortuzzo
05:59PIT Robert Bortuzzo  Fighting (maj) against  Matt Martin
12:25NYI Thomas Hickey  Slashing against  Steve Downie
12:25PIT Steve Downie  Slashing against  Thomas Hickey
3rd Period
OT Period
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/10/0
Faceoff Wins2726
Blocked Shots1517
Penalty Minutes79
2N. LeddyD1005020:24
3T. HamonicD0101022:53
11L. VisnovskyD0000020:28
12J. BaileyR0122017:19
14T. HickeyD0102220:08
15C. ClutterbuckR0001013:46
17M. MartinL100359:23
18R. StromeR1222013:48
21K. OkposoR00-12020:10
27A. LeeL0122012:39
29B. NelsonL00-11016:09
44C. de HaanD0001022:23
51F. NielsenC0003017:13
53C. CizikasC0001011:16
55J. BoychukD0003022:54
84M. GrabovskiC0001018:48
86N. KuleminL10-23017:06
91J. TavaresC00-22021:13
30C. Johnson2630.86765:00
3O. MaattaD01-10022:32
4R. ScuderiD00-11015:33
7P. MartinD0101026:59
10C. EhrhoffD0124025:43
13N. SpalingC10-11016:28
14C. KunitzL0112020:48
16B. SutterC1003019:58
17B. ComeauL1011017:09
19B. BennettR0002018:24
23S. DownieR0103214:31
27C. AdamsR000006:37
38Z. SillC000005:00
41R. BortuzzoD00-1059:59
57M. GocC000006:26
58K. LetangD0015229:29
71E. MalkinC02-12020:48
72P. HornqvistR11-15018:50
87S. CrosbyC0010020:48
29M. Fleury3135.88664:58