UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey scored in the third period and the New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 Friday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Anthony Beauvillier also scored and Robin Lehner stopped 32 shots to help New York open a post-season series with two wins for the first time since sweeping Edmonton in the 1983 Stanley Cup Final for the Islanders’ fourth straight championship.
Mathew Barzal had two assists in a chippy, physical game that featured a lot of hard hits and some skirmishes, especially in the first two periods — and also after the final buzzer.
Erik Gudbranson scored and Matt Murray finished with 31 saves for the Penguins, who have lost the first two games of a post-season series for the first time since the 2013 Eastern Conference finals against Boston.
Game 3 is Sunday at Pittsburgh.
After a turnover by the Penguins near their own blue line, Barzal sent the puck up to Eberle on the right side and he skated across the front and sent a backhand in at 7:54 of the third to give the Islanders their first lead of the night at 2-1.
Bailey, who had the overtime winner in Game 1 on Wednesday night, then gave New York a two-goal lead with a power-play score with 8:22 remaining on New York’s sixth man-advantage of the night. Devon Toews fired a shot that hit Anders Lee, and the puck came to Bailey, who put it in from the right side.
The Penguins pulled Murray for an extra skater with 2:44 remaining, but couldn’t take advantage. Lehner made a nice glove save on Phil Kessel from the right circle, drawing chants of “Leh-ner! Leh-ner!” from the raucous home crowd.
After a scoreless first period, Pittsburgh’s Matt Cullen had an open look at a rebound from the right circle 1:13 into the second that Lehner stopped with a pad save into his glove.
The Islanders had a 5-on-3 advantage for about a minute in the second period, but couldn’t beat Murray. The Penguins’ goalie then had a diving stop on Matt Martin in front about 7:44 in, and a stick save on a slap sot by Ryan Pulock 10 seconds later.
Brian Dumoulin hit a goalpost for Pittsburgh at about the 9-minute mark.
Gudbranson then gave the Penguins their first lead of the series as he took a pass from Evgeni Malkin and fired a one-timer from straightaway inside the blue line that beat Lehner’s blocker side and went in off the post with 9:24 remaining in the second. It was Gudbranson’s first career playoff point.
Beauvillier tied it with 6:35 left in the period with his first career playoff goal as he knocked in the loose puck in front after Murray was out of position following a save on Barzal’s initial try on a 3-on-2 break
While some of the Islanders began celebrating the goal, fights broke out to Murray’s left. Barzal was given a double-minor for roughing, while Pittsburgh’s Marcus Pettersson received a 2-minute penalty.
The Islanders outshot the Penguins 11-7 in the scoreless first period.
Lehner made a save on Sidney Crosby’s backhand try in front about 4 minutes in. Toews hit the right post with a long slap shot from straightaway from the blue line a little more than 5 minutes later. Phil Kessel was denied on a shot from the left circle with just under 7 minutes remaining
NOTES: Murray has lost consecutive playoff games for the fourth time. He also did it in Games 3 and 4 of 2017 Stanley Cup Final against Nashville, and Games 2-3 and 5-6 against Washington in second round last year. … Penguins F Jared McCann sat out due to an upper-body injury. He was replaced in the lineup by F Teddy Blueger, making his playoff debut. D Jack Johnson was back in the lineup after sitting out Game 1. He had played in all 82 games during the regular season. D Olli Maatta sat out to make room. … The Islanders, who were 3 for 50 on the power play over the final 22 games of the season to finish 29th at 14.5 per cent, are now 2 for 8 in this series. … New York was 38-2-2 in regular season when scoring at least 3 goals, and is now 2-0 in playoffs.
The series shifts Pittsburgh for Game 3 on Sunday and Game 4 on Tuesday night.
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Vin A. Cherwoo, The Associated Press