Adam Pelech’s overtime goal lifts Islanders past skidding Penguins 5-4


PITTSBURGH — Adam Pelech beat Alex Nedeljkovic 57 seconds into overtime to lift the New York Islanders past the skidding Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on Tuesday night.

Pelech’s winner was his first goal since last April as the Islanders recovered in the extra period after squandering a late lead.

Brock Nelson scored his 24th goal of the season for New York. Mathew Barzal, Simon Holmstrom and Mike Reilly also scored for the Islanders. Ilya Sorokin, beaten soundly in his first two games against Pittsburgh this season, stopped 37 shots for the Islanders.

New York improved to (4-3-3) since Patrick Roy replaced Lane Lambert as head coach a month ago.

Valtteri Puustinen and Drew O’Connor scored 54 seconds apart in the third period as the Penguins erased a two-goal deficit. Marcus Pettersson scored his third goal of the season for Pittsburgh. Lars Eller added his 10th for the Penguins. Nedeljkovic made 28 saves but couldn’t get a handle on Pelech’s winner.

Erik Karlsson became the 19th defenseman in NHL history to reach 800 career points when he recorded the secondary assist on Pettersson’s one-timer from the right circle late in the first period.

The Penguins are 1-4-1 in their last six and are struggling to stay on the fringe of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference thanks in large part to a power play that for all of its star power can’t seem to generate much offense.

Pittsburgh is 30th in the league with the man advantage, and the sequence that set up Barzal’s go-ahead goal in the second period served as a microcosm of their season. The Penguins passed the puck around the perimeter for almost the entirety of the two minutes rather than putting it on the net. New York managed to clear the puck just as Barzal emerged from the box and the winger raced in and beat Nedeljkovic over his glove to put the Islanders in front.

Holmstrom pushed the lead to 3-1 later in the period when he jammed a wraparound by Nedeljkovic 13:15 into the second. Eller’s goal pulled the Penguins within one but when Reilly beat Nedeljkovic 10:42 into the third, it appeared Pittsburgh — which had scored four goals just once since Jan. 11 — was in trouble.

The Penguins, playing without second-leading scorer Jake Guentzel, out a month with an upper-body injury, responded in a way they rarely have of late.

Puustinen jabbed a loose puck by Sorokin 12:06 into the third and O’Connor received the kind of fortunate bounce that’s been hard to come for Pittsburgh when his crossing pass intended for Pettersson at the far post redirected off New York’s Anders Lee and by Sorokin to tie it and help Pittsburgh salvage a point in the standings.


Islanders: Travel to St. Louis on Thursday.

Penguins: Host Montreal on Thursday.




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