NEW YORK (AP) – Anders Lee scored the tiebreaking goal with 27 seconds remaining to lift the New York Islanders to a 5-3 victory over the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
Thomas Hickey fired a slap shot from the point that deflected off Lee’s stick and past goalie Matt Murray to help the Islanders recover after giving up a three-goal lead in the third period.
With Murray pulled on the ensuing faceoff, Nikolay Kulemin scored into the empty net 3 seconds later to give the Islanders consecutive victories for the second time this season.
Johnny Boychuk, Jason Chimera and Casey Cizikas also scored for the Islanders, and Thomas Greiss made 31 saves. They led 3-0 after two periods.
Conor Sheary, Justin Schultz and Evgeni Malkin scored in the first 13:08 of the third period for the Penguins. Murray finished with 25 saves while starting for the third time in four games.
The Islanders had not scored more than two goals in their last eight games – including a 3-2, 14-round shootout win at Anaheim on Nov. 22.
The Penguins came out aggressive in the third and quickly got on the scoreboard when Sheary knocked in a rebound past Greiss 32 seconds in.
Phil Kessel had a breakaway a minute later but was stoned by Greiss.
Schultz pulled the Penguins within one when he skated in across the left faceoff circle and fired a shot top shelf with 9:20 remaining. Malkin then tied it with a wrister past Greiss 2:28 later with his ninth of the season.
The Islanders made it 2-0 at 2:10 of the second on a goal credited to Chimera. Scott Mayfield fired a shot from the right slot and the puck bounced off several players before hitting Chimera’s skate and off Murray and slowly trickling over the line before the goalie could stop it. It was Chimera’s second of the season.
Pittsburgh was called for two penalties seconds apart about 8 minutes into the second. After being whistled for too many men, Matt Cullen was called for a delay of game faceoff violation for falling on the puck on the ensuing faceoff. The Islanders managed six shots on the 5-on-3, including a diving a glove save by Murray on a shot by Tavares from the right side.
Cizikas made it 3-0 with 2:39 left in the second with his third of the season. Andrew Ladd fired a shot at the net and it deflected to Cizikas who tipped it past Murray from the left side.
Boychuk got the Islanders on the scoreboard first, firing a slap shot from outside the right faceoff circle into the left side of the night on Murray’s blocker side with 13 seconds left in the opening period. It was Boychuk’s third goal of the season, and first since Oct. 23.
Patric Hornqvist returned for the Penguins after missing six games due to a concussion.
Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play and has not scored in 16 opportunities over the last five games.
The Penguins won the first two meetings, 4-2 at home on Oct. 27 and 3-2 in OT here on Nov. 18. The teams’ final matchup will be March 24 at Pittsburgh.
Islanders F Ryan Strome returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous two games.
New York’s No. 3 goalie, Jean-Francois Berube, who has yet to appear in a game this season, was Greiss’ backup while Jaroslav Halak sat out.
Adam Pelech was out after sustaining an upper body injury in Monday night’s OT win over Calgary. Mayfield took his place and appeared in his second game of the season.
Penguins: Host Dallas on Thursday night in the opener of a three-game homestand.
Islanders: At Washington on Thursday night before a three-game homestand.