After two terrific periods, the New York Islanders abandoned their strong fundamental play in the third. And in a flash, their 10-game winning streak was over.
And in a flash, their 10-game winning streak was over.
Bryan Rust scored his second goal of the game in overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied past the Islanders 4-3 on Thursday night in Brooklyn.
Pittsburgh erased a three-goal deficit in the third period and snapped its three-game skid. Jared McCann had a goal and two assists, and Evgeni Malkin also scored for the Penguins. Matt Murray made 20 saves.
“These are definitely character-building wins,” Rust said. “For us as a team, that just kind of breeds confidence throughout the lineup.”
Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck and Adam Pelech scored for New York. Semyon Varlamov stopped 35 shots.
Rust, who extended his point streak to five games, took the puck from Islanders center Brock Nelson behind the net and scored on a wraparound 3:25 into the extra session.
“Rusty is playing with a hunger and you can see it in his game,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “His speed is so evident, and he is hard to play against because he can track pucks down, strip defenseman from behind and that’s what he brings to this team. He has the ability to score. He is finishing for us, but his second effort for us is impressive.”
McCann ended Varlamov’s shutout bid when his wrist shot got by the goalie 1:38 into the third to spark the Penguins’ comeback. Pittsburgh defensemen John Marino and Brian Dumoulin helped set up the play.
Rust and Malkin followed up McCann’s goal with scores of their own as the Penguins wiped out their three-goal deficit in 7:10.
McCann, Malkin and Rust combined for seven points.
“It was obviously a good line for us,” Sullivan said. “They were dynamic in the third period. There is a lot of speed on the wings there. I thought we got to the net in the third period better than the first two.”
Rust snapped a wrist shot over Varlamov’s glove after Murray made a sprawling save on Anthony Beauvillier’s backhand at the other end. McCann and Malkin assisted on the goal.
“That save he made, that changes the outcome of the game,” Sullivan said. “That’s the timely save we need to win games.”
Malkin tied it 3-all at 8:48 when he swatted home a long rebound. It was his second goal of the season in five games. Juuso Riikola and McCann assisted.
“We just have to be better. That’s not the way we have been playing,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said. “We all know that — that’s what is frustrating. . Bad period, bad lapse. It cost us a point in the end against a really good team.”
Cizikas opened the scoring when he sneaked a backhand past Murray just 19 seconds into the game. Michael Dal Colle deflected the puck behind the net, and Cizikas beat a confused Murray to the far post. Dal Colle and Ryan Pulock got assists.
Clutterbuck scored short-handed for the second straight game at 6:28 of the second period when his wrist shot whizzed between Murray’s pads to give New York a 2-0 advantage. The Islanders have killed off 24 of 25 penalties over the past eight games.
Pelech stepped into a slap shot at 9:26 of the second to make it 3-0. The original shot was deflected by Penguins forward Teddy Blueger while Lee provided a screen at the top of the crease. Lee and Mathew Barzal assisted.
“Don’t give teams a lead like three, two goals. It’s not fun,” Malkin said. “Coach starts changing lines, Coach starts changing the power play — it’s not our game. I hope next game we will play better for the first half of the game.”
Pittsburgh played without defenseman Kris Letang, who sustained a lower-body injury in the third period of a 6-4 loss at Boston on Monday.
Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy missed his third straight game while nursing a lower-body injury and is day-to-day. Lee has played in 215 consecutive games. New York recalled Seth Helgeson and Otto Koivula from Bridgeport of the AHL, but neither dressed. Dominik Simon’s four-game point streak against the Islanders ended. The Penguins scratched forward Sam Lafferty and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel.
The Islanders host the Florida Panthers on Saturday afternoon.
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