Up 2-1 in the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had a chance to take a commanding lead on Tuesday night against the New York Islanders. However, the Penguins missed the golden opportunity as the Islanders won 6-4 at Nassau Coliseum to tie the series at two games a piece.
The Penguins got behind the 8-ball and didn’t have much offensive zone time as they took three penalties in the first period. While the Penguins were able to kill all three penalties, it was the Islanders striking first.
Defenseman Brian Strait fired a shot from the blue line that got through two screens and behind Penguins’ goaltender Marc Andre Fleury. It only took the Penguins 45 seconds to tie the game though as James Neal, seeing his first action since Game 1, scored his first goal of the postseason off a good pass from Evgeni Malkin.
The Penguins continued to play risky and continued to take penalties. While they killed the first three, they couldn’t kill the next one. After two failed clearing attempts by Brooks Orpik, Mark Streit wristed one past Fleury for his first of the postseason.
But just like in the first period, the Penguins answered. This time it took them 58 seconds as Evgeni Malkin scored on a 2-on-1 rush, beating Evgeni Nabokov on his stick side.
Brandon Sutter gave the Penguins their first lead of the game in the second period as he did what so many of the Penguins are doing this series, beating Nabokov up high on the glove side.
The Islanders continued to work hard and pressured the Penguins as they tied the game 3-3 with a late goal in the second period. Fleury was unable to control a rebound and Kyle Okposo got just enough on his shot to trickle the puck over the line. The goal was his third of the playoffs, and it came from behind the net.
The Penguins showed that there were no lasting effects from giving up a late goal before the second intermission, as it took them just 41 seconds into the third to recapture the lead. Pascal Dupuis redirected a shot from Chris Kunitz past Nabokov to make it a 4-3 game.
But there was no quit in the Islanders as they tied the game again on Streit’s second of the game. Streit’s shot bounced off Douglas Murray’s skate and in behind Fleury.
The Islanders took a 5-4 lead when John Tavares was the benefactor of not one but two Penguins turnovers. The first one was when Orpik didn’t clear the puck behind his own net and then Malkin gave the puck to Tavares, who maneuvered his way to the front for a rebound goal.
The Islanders added another late goal from Casey Cizikas for the 6-4 win, evening up the series. Cizikas simply pushed the puck to the front of the net and it caromed in off the butt-end of Fleury’s outstretched stick.
Game 5 will be Thursday night at Consol Energy Center and it will be interesting to see who the Penguins start in net as Fleury gave up six goals on 24 shots.