Islanders slip past Penguins

New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) defends Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Phil Kessel (81) from the third period of an NHL hockey game in New York, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The Islanders won 2-1. (AP)

NEW YORK (AP) – Anders Lee scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period, Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 shots before leaving late in the third period and got his 200th career victory and the surging New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 Tuesday night.

Halak left the game with 4:22 left with a possible injury. Thomas Greiss replaced him and stopped all three shots he faced. Halak, in his second season with the Islanders, improved to 200-115-37 in his career.

John Tavares scored in the first period for the Islanders, who improved to 11-2-1 in their last 14 games in their first time back at Barclays Center since Feb. 18. New York was coming off a 6-1-0 trip that ended with 6-4 win against the crosstown-rival Rangers on Sunday.

Kris Letang had the Penguins’ goal and Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 25 saves.

The Penguins, holding the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, had won four of their last six but fell five points behind the Islanders for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Just 20 seconds after the Penguins’ Matt Cullen was sent off for cross-checking, the Islanders got their second power-play goal of the game. Frans Nielsen sent the puck from behind the goal line to Nick Leddy, and the defenseman fired a shot through traffic that Lee tipped from in front for his 12th of the season at 8:55.

The Islanders won their fourth straight overall, improved to 5-0-1 in their last six at home and remained three points behind the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan.

The Islanders, on their second power play of the game early in the third period, had a chance about 12 seconds into that man-advantage, but Fleury stopped Tavares’ snap shot from the left side.

The Penguins outshot the Islanders 12-8 in the first and 11-9 in a fast-paced, scoreless second period.

Pittsburgh had a power play in the second when Leddy was whistled for cross-checking Patric Hornqvist, but Halak stopped all three shots during the Penguins’ advantage – including slap shots by Letang and Phil Kessel.

Fleury made a nice save on Casey Cizikas from in close late in the middle period.

The teams were skating 4-on-4 after Malkin and the Islanders’ Travis Hamonic were both whistled for roughing with about 7 1/2 minutes left in the first period when they dropped gloves and briefly fought.

The Penguins took advantage of the open ice, as Letang took a pass from Sidney Crosby near the blue line, skated through the right faceoff circle and fired the puck into the top right corner of the goal past Halak’s glove with 6:47 to go for his 12th of the season. Crosby got his 38th assist and 66th point, both team highs.