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game recap

Islanders edge Penguins, end skid at five games

Lee scores tiebreaking goal late in third on power play; Varlamov makes 28 saves

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

Lee nets late go-ahead PPG

PIT@NYI: Lee cleans up rebound for go-ahead PPG

Anders Lee gets position in front of the crease and jams home a rebound on the power play to give the Islanders a 4-3 lead in the 3rd

  • 00:40 •

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Anders Lee scored a power-play goal with 2:44 remaining in the third period, and the New York Islanders ended a five-game skid with a 4-3 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday.

Lee broke the tie when he knocked in a rebound of Ryan Pulock's slap shot from the left circle after Penguins forward Teddy Blueger was penalized for shooting the puck over the glass.

"We were just able to get a good bounce from [Pulock's] shot," Lee said. "Big one for us there. … Tonight wasn't the prettiest game or the best game we've played even recently, but it doesn't matter. We found a way tonight, and that's kind of really all that matters."

Video: PIT@NYI: Eberle opens the scoring with nifty backhand

Jordan Eberle scored twice, and Michael Dal Colle had two assists for the Islanders (4-4-2), who were 0-3-2 in their previous five games. Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves in his 500th NHL game. 

New York was playing its first game since Jan. 31 after it had two home games against the Buffalo Sabres postponed because of COVID-19 concerns.

"Probably like a starving person needing food, that's probably how bad we needed it," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "We needed it for confidence, we needed it to get ourselves back in the race; we've played a few less games. We found a way to battle again." 

Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist, and Pierre-Olivier Joseph and Evgeni Malkin scored for the Penguins (5-5-1), who have lost four of their past five (1-3-1). Tristan Jarry made 22 saves.

"I don't think you think too much into [the standings], but I think you know you've got to start getting points because they're so hard to come by in this division," Guentzel said. "We've seen a lot of games that are close, so we've just got to make sure we're getting points any way we can, and it starts now. We've just got to make sure next game (at the Islanders again Thursday) we try and get two points." 

Eberle gave New York a 1-0 lead when he roofed a backhand shot from the bottom of the left circle at 10:22 of the first period. Joseph scored his first NHL goal at 13:43 with a wrist shot from the left circle to tie it 1-1.

"It would've been better with the two points at the end of the game, but I think [Guentzel] saw me in a good position out there and we played fast," Joseph said. "Good things happen when you do the right things."

Video: PIT@NYI: Joseph wires home wrister for first NHL goal

Eberle stuffed Brock Nelson's rebound past Jarry after Dal Colle forced a turnover to make it 2-1 at 15:45 of the first period.

Malkin tied it 2-2 with 16 seconds left in the second period on a wrist shot from the left circle after Nelson and Scott Mayfield failed to clear the puck at the top of the zone.

Guentzel gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead at 3:16 of the third period when he scored on a wrist shot from the left circle.

"I thought there was a lot of positives to take from it," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "I thought for the most part our 5-on-5 play was pretty strong. I thought we got better as the game went on; we controlled a lot of the third period. We fought back from a deficit. There was a lot to like about our overall game.  

"We've just got to make sure that we don't give our opponents easy opportunities to score by making sure we have an awareness, and when we also have to have an awareness late in the shifts that we simplify our game, get pucks deep and make sure that we get the line changes that we need so we can continue to play the game that we want to play."

Cal Clutterbuck tied it 3-3 at 8:23 when he stuffed Cizikas' pass from behind the net past Jarry. It was Clutterbuck's first goal since Dec. 5, 2019.

Video: PIT@NYI: Clutterbuck puts home the feed from Cizikas

"They scored a goal at the end of the second period, and that's sort of a little bit of a kick in the teeth," Trotz said. "They take the lead, but I liked our response after the goal. I just thought our bench went from there." 

NOTES: Trotz's win was his 849th, tying him with Ken Hitchcock for third in NHL history. He is 849-622-153 with 60 ties with the Islanders, Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators. … Penguins forward Jared McCann sustained a lower-body injury and did not play after the first period. Sullivan said he is being evaluated. … Penguins defensemen Kris Letang had one assist and was plus-2 in 23:41 after missing a 3-1 loss at the New York Rangers on Feb. 1 because of a lower-body injury. Defenseman Mike Matheson returned after missing eight games with an upper-body injury and was minus-1 in 20:49. … Dal Colle's multipoint game was his first in the NHL. … New York is 3-0-0 at home this season and 1-4-2 on the road.

Video: Lee, Eberle lift Islanders to 4-3 victory

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