For the first time since 1983, the New York Islanders have a 2-0 series lead.
They did it on their terms as well, playing Islander hockey en route to a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of their First Round series.
Friday had a lot of the trademarks of the Isles' 2018-19 season. It was a low-scoring, grinding and physical affair, played in front of a rambunctious Nassau Coliseum. They frustrated the Penguins top players and took advantage of their offensive opportunities, and most important, were not fazed when the Penguins took a 1-0 lead.
Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey scored the goals, and Robin Lehner made 32 saves, but Head Coach Barry Trotz credited the whole team with the comeback effort.
"The normal formula for us," Trotz said. "I liked all of our effort. There's not one player I'm disappointed in, in our group. They left it on the ice emotionally and physically tonight."
Video: Eberle, Lehner lead Isles to Game 2 win vs. Penguins
Friday's game appeared destined to be a goalie duel early on, as Lehner and Matt Murray traded highlight reel saves on Matt Cullen and Matt Martin, respectively. The Islanders were the first to blink, as Erik Gudbranson's slapper beat Lehner through traffic at 10:36, but the Isles didn't let the Penguins lead last for long. Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal (2A) played a little give-n-go up the ice, with Beauvillier cleaning up a rebound for his first-career playoff goal at 13:25 to tie the score 1-1.
The goal and ensuing brouhaha afterwards - the game got progressively chippier - jump-started the Islanders, and a well-oiled Friday night crowd at the Coliseum.
"They scored and the bench didn't deflate," Eberle said. "We felt we could come back and we did that."
Eberle scored the go-ahead goal at 7:54 of the third period, pulling the puck around a sliding Justin Schultz before burying a backhander past Murray.
Video: PIT@NYI, Gm2: Eberle beats Murray with backhand
The goal was Eberle's second in as many games, as the 28-year-old, continues to put his goalless 2017 playoff with the Edmonton Oilers in the rearview.
"He's so crafty in tight," Barzal said of Eberle. (Trotz joked that the two linemates might have to room together in Pittsburgh since their chemistry has rekindled.)
Bailey followed it up just under four minutes later with a power-play goal, burying a rebound at the side of the net. Bailey's goal came on the Islanders sixth power play of the game, alleviating any potential sour feelings of the previous five opportunities.
From there, the stingy Islanders locked it down, skating off with a 2-0 series lead, officially preserving their home-ice advantage.
"Friday night at the Coli. It was awesome," captain Anders Lee said. "The boys responded well to the energy up top and I thought we played a really strong game throughout… It was a good job by us to take advantage of the first two at home, but we have to get back to work."
Video: PIT@NYI, Gm2: Bailey doubles the lead with PPG
ISLES AND PENS GET CHIPPY:
According to Barry Trotz, momentum doesn't carry between games in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The nastiness sure does though.
The requisite playoff-hate levels were seemingly reached on Friday night in Game 2 between the Islanders and Penguins. Both teams gave as good as they got on Friday, trading big hits all night, while the face-washing started early - with Leo Komarov and Evgeni Malkin - and lasted till the final horn.
Things boiled over after Anthony Beauvillier's 1-1 goal late in the second period, as Mathew Barzal and Marcus Pettersson got into it behind the net, leading to a full-on brouhaha.
Video: PIT@NYI, Gm2: Beauvillier taps home rebound on rush
Barzal admittedly said he may have over-reacted, but the intensity was born out of the heat of the moment. That's just playoff hockey.
"A bit of an overreaction on my part, but that's hockey sometimes," Barzal said. "Any time you play a team back to back, you know you're going to get them possibly seven times, as the series goes on you're going to have those in-game battles with guys. That kind of stuff is part of it… We've been playing like that all year and that's just the nature of a playoff series."
LEHNER SOLID IN SECOND WIN:
Robin Lehner's second-career playoff start went about as smoothly as his first one did. Lehner was solid from the drop of the puck on Friday, turning aside 32 saves in the win.
Video: PIT@NYI, Gm2: Lehner extends to stone Cullen's try
Lehner got in a groove early, kicking out his leg for a toe save to rob Matt Cullen on a wide-open rebound. Lehner, who had a career-high 25 wins and six shutouts during the regular season, continued to stay calm and poised throughout the night, robbing Phil Kessel with the glove in the final minutes.
"He made big saves at the right time," Trotz said. "You get saves sometimes when they are not needed, but he made timely saves."
His only blemish was a screened shot from Gudbranson, but he held firm afterwards. Through two games, Lehner has stopped 73-of-77 shots.
TROTZ ON COLISEUM CROWD:
After issuing a challenge to Islanders fans to further raise their noise level after Game 1, the Islanders coach was pleased with their effort in Game 2.
The series shifts to Pittsburgh for Game 3 on Sunday afternoon. Puck drop is at noon.