NHL: Islanders even series with Penguins
Pittsburgh • Sidney Crosby did what he always seems to do in big moments, scoring two quick goals in his return from a broken jaw.
He gave the Pittsburgh Penguins an early two-goal lead over the New York Islanders on Friday night. Then the Islanders responded, doing something they hadn't managed in six years: win a playoff game.
Kyle Okposo provided his teammates some inspiration with a well-timed fight in the second period, and he capped a compelling New York rally with winning goal with 7:37 to play. The Islanders' 4-3 win evened the playoff series at one game each.
Game 3 is Sunday at New York. And instead of heading to Nassau Coliseum in danger of being swept, the Islanders have the momentum after a resilient 60 minutes.
"Our guys, they're relentless," New York coach Jack Capuano said.
The Islanders needed to be after Crosby wearing a plastic shield to protect the jaw he broke on March 30 found the back of the net twice in the first 7:37.
For a moment, the Islanders bench flash backed to an ugly 5-0 loss in Game 1 when Pittsburgh struck for three early scores to take any drama out of the proceedings.
Capuano kept telling his players all it took was a bounce here or there to get back in it.
The critical bounce came in the third period. Okposo fired a shot wide of the net that caromed back to the crease, then rolled off Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and across the goal line to give New York its first playoff win since April 14, 2007 against Buffalo.
"We're in the series," Okposo said. "We just wanted to come out and let them know that we're not going away."
Matt Moulson, Colin McDonald and Matt Martin also scored for the Islanders. Evgeni Nabokov overcame a sloppy start to make 30 saves as the youthful Islanders weathered the comeback of the NHL's best player.
Doctors cleared Crosby to play late Thursday, and the arena erupted when his familiar No. 87 skated onto the ice.
Canadiens 3, Senators 1 • In Montreal, Ryan White started a three-goal second period and goalie Carey Price was back in top form with 29 saves as the Canadiens downed the Senators to even their playoff series at 1-1.
There was anticipation of rough play after Eric Gryba's hit that saw Montreal's Lars Eller carried off the Bell Centre ice on a stretcher with a concussion and some missing teeth in Ottawa's 4-2 win in the series opener on Thursday night. Eller spent the night in hospital and was released Friday morning.
Blackhawks 5, Wild 2 • In Chicago, Patrick Sharp and Michael Frolik had two goals apiece, and the Blackhawks took a 2-0 series lead over the Wild.
Sharks 3, Canucks 2 (OT) • In Vancouver, British Columbia, Raffi Torres scored 5:41 into overtime to lift San Jose to the win and a 2-0 series lead.
• Montreal 3, Ottawa 1
Series tied 1-1
• N.Y. Islanders 4, Pittsburgh 3
Series tied 1-1
• Chicago 5, Minnesota 2
Blackhawks lead series 2-0
• San Jose 3, Vancouver 2 (OT)
Sharks lead series 2-0
• N.Y. Rangers at Washington, 10:30 a.m., Ch. 5
Capitals lead series 1-0
• Toronto at Boston, 5 p.m., CNBC
Bruins lead series 1-0
• Anaheim at Detroit, 5:30 p.m., NBCSN
Series tied 1-1
• St. Louis at Los Angeles, 8 p.m., NBCSN
Blues lead series 2-0