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Islanders whip Penguins to grab commanding 2-0 series lead



There was passion, and patience, and skill. And now there is a 2-0 series lead.

The Islanders continued playing their style of hockey and managed themselves a 3-1 win over the Penguins in Game 2 of their first round playoff series Friday night at the rollicking Coliseum.

The gift of two-game edge in the best-of-seven contest as they leave the friendly confines on Hempstead's Turnpike for Game 3 in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon.

2-0 lead in a playoff series since the Stanley Cup final of 1983, as are trying to win just the second playoff series since 1993.

The Islanders were coming off a dramatic Game 1 win Wednesday night, when Josh Bailey's goal 4:39 into overtime sealed the deal. It was some way for the club to open its first playoff series with home-ice advantage since 1

988.

But the Islanders knew the Penguins were going to come back for this one with some renewed spirit, as they have that championship pedigree from winning three Stanley Cups in the past decade. And they brought more physical game right from the beginning, with both teams trading haymakers, with stars right in the middle of it all – including Mathew Barzal.

"I think they're just enjoying it," coach Barry Trotz had said Friday morning. "I think Barzy, in particular, really enjoyed the moment."

 Penguins 'Erik Gudbranson mixes it up with Scott Mayfield.
Penguins' Erik Gudbranson mixes it up with Scott Mayfield. Getty Images [19659011] Near the end of the second period, Barzal got into it with Pittsburgh defenseman Marcus Pettersson, who had led him into the backboards after Anthony Beauvillier scored a goal that tied the game, 1-1. As the goal was being celebrated, Barzal turned and cross-checked Pettersson near the face, and the celebration quickly turned into a full-blown bugle.

The passion was just pouring out of the 21-year-old Barzal, who continued

"I think he likes the big moment," Trotz had said.

By the time the third period started, that 1-1 remained intact. But the Isles were able to wrest away momentum when Jordan Eberle scored his second goal of the series, making a slick move up the right side and then quickly lifting a backhand inside the far post at 7:54 for a 2-1 lead. [19659002] The Coliseum was going to berserk at this point, like all the anxiety came out in chants of "Let's Go Islanders!" And then Bailey added on, lifting a loose puck over goalie Matt Murray at 11:38 for a power-play goal that made it 3-1. The Isles had previously gone 0 for 5 on the power play, but they got one when it mattered most.

The Penguins pulled Murray for the extra attack with just under three minutes to play, but Robin Lehner made a dazzling glove save on Phil Kessel to keep it 3-1 with 1:17 left in regulation. Then the final horn sounded and the game ended, there were still more fisticuffs, the two teams finally retreating and Sunday seemingly a long time away.

After all the fireworks of Game 1, this night started rather slow and sloppy, with six icings in the first five minutes. The Penguins got on the board first when a long shot from Erik Gudbranson got through traffic and beat Lehner at 10:36, making it 1-0. The Islanders have not been great at coming back this season, and it didn't help that the power play was struggling yet again – including 54 seconds of a 5-on-3 man advantage in the second period that went for naught. 19659002] But the Isles managed to tie it up when Beauvillier sent a great saucer pass to Barzal, whose redirection was initially stopped by Murray before Beauvillier jumped on the loose puck and banged it home at 13:25.

The score was tied, Barzal was starting a big holeball, and the game went into the third overflowing with tension.


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