Isles' Tavares seals deal against Penguins
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders did a pretty fair impersonation of the defending Stanley Cup champions Friday at Nassau Coliseum.
Dominating the third period and receiving clutch goals from their superstars has been the Penguins' recipe for success since Dan Bylsma became coach in February. The Islanders turned the tables on the champs, outshooting the Penguins, 18-5, in the third period and receiving a late goal from rookie John Tavares to earn a 3-2 victory.
"We pride ourselves on being a good third period team," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "We didn't do a very good job of that."
The Penguins entered the third period with a 2-1 advantage but were unable to match the Islanders' intensity during the final 20 minutes.
Sean Bergenheim tied the game with a wrist shot early in the third period, and Tavares scored the game-winner with 6:12 remaining, pouncing on a rebound and beating Penguins goalie Brent Johnson, who played in place of Marc-Andre Fleury.
Johnson was otherwise outstanding, stopping 34 of 37 shots.
"He gave us a chance," Bylsma said.
The game turned in the second period. Goals by Evgeni Malkin and Matt Cooke had given the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
With New York's Jack Hillen already in the penalty box, Andy Sutton was assessed a four-minute high sticking penalty.
The Penguins were unable to generate significant opportunities during the four-minute power play, which included 55 seconds with a two-man advantage.
"It was clearly an opportunity that we didn't capitalize on," Bylsma said.
Malkin was unable to play during the two-man advantage portion of the power play because blood was dripping from his face.
"Obviously, it would have been nice to have him out there," Crosby said. "I felt like we got some chances, but we didn't get the job done."
The Islanders were noticeably inspired by their penalty killing and began to dominate play late in the second period.
After Bergenheim's goal evened the game early in the third, the Penguins looked to be going on a power play when New York's Nate Thompson hit Martin Skoula from behind. Thompson was called for boarding, but there would be no power play for the Penguins.
Jordan Staal immediately attacked Bergenheim and was hit with 17 minutes worth of penalties, nullifying the power play.
Bylsma was not displeased by Staal's reaction, even though it did erase a power play and remove one of the Penguins' best players for all but the final shift of the game.
"Jordan made the decision that we can't have other teams hitting us from behind like that," Bylsma said. "I don't think anybody was happy with how he hit our guy from behind. I understand the reaction."
The Islanders continued to buzz around the Penguins' net and finally received the game-winning goal from Tavares, who was the first pick of the 2009 NHL Draft.
Freddy Meyer's shot was stopped by Johnson, but Tavares found himself alone and buried a shot for his 10th goal of the season.
"It was tough," Johnson said. "The original shot went through a screen and hit something."
The Penguins were outshot, 37-21, and went 0 for 5 on the power play. Even more troubling, they were dominated in the third period, when they generally do their finest work.
"They played well," Johnson said. "They had us back on our heels. We were reeling."
The Penguins return home tonight to face the New York Rangers.