Islanders nip Penguins to snap five-game skid

Anders Lee scored on the power play late in the third period to lift the New York Islanders over the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum, snapping a five-game skid.

Lee scored with 2:44 left after Pittsburgh’s Teddy Blueger was penalized for delay of game. It was the fourth goal this season for the Islanders captain. Ryan Pulock and Mathew Barzal had assists.

Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves for the Islanders.

Jake Guentzel put the Penguins ahead 3-2 at 3:19 of the third before Cal Clutterbuck tied it for the Islanders with his first goal of the season at 8:23.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby assisted on Guentzel’s fourth goal of the season. Crosby has 114 points against Islanders, the most of any active player against one team.

Jordan Eberle opened the scoring for the Islanders with a slick backhand goal at 10:22 of the first period.

Pittsburgh tied it when rookie defenseman Pierre-Oliver Joseph scored his first NHL goal, beating Varlamov with a shot from the left circle at 13:43. Crosby immediately scooped up the souvenir puck for his 21-year-old teammate, who was acquired by Pittsburgh in a trade that send forward Phil Kessel to Arizona in June 2019.

Anders Lee celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in the Islanders' 4-3 win over the Penguins.
Anders Lee celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in the Islanders’ 4-3 win over the Penguins.
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Eberle scored his second of the game and fifth of the season at 15:45 of the first.

The Penguins had the better of play in the second and finally tied it for a second time when Evgeni Malkin benefited from a turnover in the Islanders’ zone and buried the puck past Varlamov at 19:44.

It was the second goal this season for Malkin, who has 31 goals and 48 assists in 65 career games against the Islanders. Only Crosby has more points against the Islanders among active players.

Both teams were coming off a week of two postponed games each because of COVID-19 precautions. Pittsburgh’s two home games – scheduled for Feb. 2 and 4 against the New Jersey Devils – were postponed by the league, and the Islanders’ two home contests against Buffalo were similarly postponed.

The Islanders had last played on Sunday, a 4-3 overtime loss at Philadelphia to finish an 0-3-2 road trip.

Pittsburgh’s previous game was a 3-1 road loss against the Rangers on Monday. The Penguins are on a seven-game road trip, their longest since an eight-game trip in 1997.

The Islanders are 4-1-0 when scoring first.

Varlamov played his 500th career game, becoming the 76th goaltender in NHL history to reach that mark. … Islanders coach Barry Trotz has 849 victories, tied with Ken Hitchcock as third-winningest coach in league history behind Scotty Bowman with 1,244 wins and Florida’s Joel Quenneville.

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