x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

NHL: Brooks Orpik goal sends Pittsburgh Penguins to second round

Defenceman scores in overtime as the Pens win series 4-2.

The Pittsburgh Penguins overcame three one-goal deficits to beat the New York Islanders. Kathy Willens / AP Photo
The Pittsburgh Penguins overcame three one-goal deficits to beat the New York Islanders. Kathy Willens / AP Photo

Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik scored the overtime winner as the Penguins overcame three one-goal deficits to beat the New York Islanders 4-3 on Saturday, clinching the series 4-2 and moving into the next round of NHL play-offs.

Orpik, a defenceman, took a shot from the left point that might have clipped Islanders forward Brad Boyes on its way past goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

The Penguins were outshot 38-21 but snatched a win that moved them into a second-round series against the Ottawa Senators.

The Islanders applied pressure early and it paid off with the opening goal.

Josh Bailey dug the puck out of the right corner and fed a perfect backhanded pass out to John Tavares, who was left alone as he skated into the slot. Tavares grabbed the puck and snapped off a crisp wrist shot from the hashmarks that beat Tomas Vokoun.

The goal carried even more significance than the 1-0 lead it created as Vokoun had been near impassable against the Islanders this season. Counting the regular season and his shut-out win on Thursday in Game 5, Vokoun entered with a 4-0 mark, a 0.69 goals-against average, and .977 save percentage this year in five games against the Islanders.

But Sidney Crosby created the tying goal with a strong, unimpeded drive. Nabokov made the stop, but could not grab the puck before Jerome Iginla came into the middle and poked the rebound in at 7:39 of the first period.

It appeared the game would remain tied until the intermission, however Colin McDonald put the Islanders back in front 2-1 with 37 seconds left in the first period.

Michael Grabner fought off a defenseman and shoved the puck out front to Keith Aucoin, who quickly sent a pass across the crease from the left post to the right, where McDonald was left unchecked. In one motion he steered the puck into the open side before Vokoun could recover.

Pittsburgh overcame a pair of New York power plays in the second - including one for too many men on the ice that had coach Dan Bylsma irate on the bench - and got even again when Pascal Dupuis scored his fifth of the series.

Joe Vitale raced along the right wing boards and flung the puck in front to Dupuis, who redirected it past Nabokov.

The Islanders took the lead for a third time when Grabner scored 2:21 into the third.

He scored off a feed from Aucoin, leaving Vokoun sprawled out on his belly.

New York were just 5:16 away from sending the series back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 when Paul Martin, another Penguins defenceman, got the visitors third equaliser of the night.

Evgeni Malkin curled behind the New York net with the puck and sent a hard pass high in the zone to Martin, who ripped a drive through traffic in front.

More to follow.


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