The Islanders had every reason to crack after allowing the opening goal following five missed power-play opportunities.
However, it was New York that kept its composure and erased a one-goal deficit en route to a 3-1 victory and commanding 2-0 series lead against Pittsburgh.
The Islanders are supposed to be the inexperienced team after missing the previous two postseasons, but never flinched while facing adversity.
"It's just a mentality, we try to do the right things every shift," defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "We don't worry about what they are doing, just focus on what we are doing. Good things will happen when we do the right things. Any team that is winning in the playoffs has the same mentality. Anything can happen, you just have to stay even-keeled."
Pittsburgh has won the Stanley Cup twice in the previous three years, and has not missed the postseason since Sidney Crosby's rookie season in 2005-06. Despite having a veteran roster, the Penguins have lost their composure and appear to be more passionate about arguing with officials or mixing it up after the whistle.
Evgeni Malkin and Jack Johnson each took two penalties in the first period which prevented the Penguins from generating offense and allowing themselves to settle into Game 2.
"We got ourselves into some trouble tonight and were never really able to tilt the ice the way we wanted to," Erik Gudbranson told reporters after the game.
After the Islanders failed on four man-advantage chances in the first period and an extended five-on-three opportunity in the second, it was the Penguins who struck first.
Yet, just 2:49 after Gudbranson gave the Penguins a one-goal lead, the Islanders didn't blink and remained committed to their style of hockey.
Anthony Beauvillier delivered a terrific pass to allow Mathew Barzal to get behind the Pittsburgh defenseman. Then, the 21-year old wisely crashed the net and cashed in on the rebound opportunity to knot the score at 1-1.
"We have played a lot of tight games in the regular season and are used to being in these situations," Islanders captain Anders Lee said of the team's calm demeanor. "Whether it's a player, staff member or fan, we have all kind of bought in together. As a whole entire group, we have had a great mentality from the get-go this season."
The Islanders' poise carried into the third period as New York sealed the game with goals from Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey. The power play finally converted with Bailey's tally.
"It starts with our coaching staff," Casey Cizikas said of the team's mentality throughout the game. "They are calm behind us and constantly talking to us. Our leadership has done a tremendous job with the group of guys that we have. We all believe in each other. There is no panic, we continue to roll and continue to play hard. We know if we do that, we are going to get chances."
The Islanders are now tasked with carrying that composure and confidence on the road. New York can push Pittsburgh to the brink of elimination with Game 3 set for Sunday at PPG Paints Arena.
"It's a long series we can't get ahead of ourselves at all," Lee said. "We can enjoy this tonight, but we know how much they are going to step up their level next time. We got to be ready."