This is everything the Islanders could have hoped for.
They made a charge at the end of the season to secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the NHL playoffs, and they've made it count. They used two third-period goals to take Game 2 from the Penguins Friday night, 3-1, in front of a raucous Coliseum crowd and take a 2-0 series lead into Sunday's Game 3 in Pittsburgh.
The Islanders have their first 2-0 lead in a series since 1983, when they won their fourth straight Stanley Cup.
Jordan Eberle scored a beautiful goal at 7:54 of the third, a far-side, backhanded finish off a feed from Mathew Barzal, and Josh Bailey scored a power-play goal 3:44 later, the Islanders' sixth power play of the game. Eberle and Bailey each have two goals through two games, and Barzal has three assists in the series.
After going 1-for-2 on the power play in Game 1, the Isles could not capitalize on their first five power-play opportunities, including failing to convert on a 54-second 5-on-3 early in the second period.
The Penguins had some swagger going after the kill and took a 1-0 lead midway through the second on Erik Gudbranson's long shot.
The Islanders were able to answer back less than three minutes later when Anthony Beauvillier cleaned up a loose puck to tie the game. Beauvillier had a nice feed for Barzal on the rush, and after Barzal's shot was stopped by Matt Murray, Beauvillier was in prime position to pounce.
Right after the goal, Barzal got into it with Marcus Petterson as others started scrums around them. Barzal ended up getting a four-minute roughing penalty while Pettersson got two as the series got much more chippy. The Isles killed off the ensuing Penguins power play.
Robin Lehner made 32 saves in drawing a second straight start, and despite being part of a timeshare during the regular season with Thomas Greiss, it appears Barry Trotz will roll with Lehner until Lehner gives him a reason not to. Lehner made a huge glove save on a Phil Kessel shot from the slot with 1:16 left while the Penguins had an extra attacker. >> Box Score
- 10:36 PIT Erik Gudbranson; Assists: Evgeni Malkin
- 13:25 NYI Anthony Beauvillier; Assists: Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle
- 7:54 NYI Jordan Eberle; Assists: Mathew Barzal, Johnny Boychuk
- 11:38 NYI Josh Bailey (Power Play;) Assists: Anders Lee, Devon Toews
The series shifts to Pittsburgh as the Isles and Penguins play Game 3 on Sunday at noon.