Kunitz’s SO Goal Lifts Pens Above Islanders, 4-3
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UNIONDALE, N.Y. (KDKA/AP) — The Penguins avenged a violent loss and secured home ice advantage when they beat the New York Islanders, 4-3 in a shootout on Friday night.
A goal by Travis Hamonic with just 35 seconds left tied up the game at 3-3, forcing overtime. Chris Kunitz scored the lone goal in the shootout for the 4-3 win.
When the teams last met in February, they racked up 65 penalties, 346 penalty minutes, 10 ejections, 15 fighting majors and 20 misconducts.
With NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell in attendance this time, the Penguins and Islanders squared off for their first fight of the night sooner than in the previous meeting.
Pittsburgh’s Eric Godard – who received a 10-game ban for leaving the bench to fight the last time – dropped the gloves with Trevor Gillies on the faceoff following Mike Rupp’s goal that made it 1-0 at 8:57.
At 11:11 in the second, Zybnek Michalek scored on a slap shot set up by Kris Letang and Tyler Kennedy. Then, just over four minutes later, the Islanders staged a rally, starting with Blake Comeau when he got a tip-in past Marc-Andre Fleury, who had 35 saves.
Then, Comeau scored on the power play in the third to make it 2-2. But a little over four minutes later, Mark Letestu took a backhanded pass in front of the net from Rupp and scored to put the Pens ahead 3-2, before Hamonic’s goal forced overtime.
The teams combined for 21 penalties – 11 for the Penguins – for 78 minutes.
Also, Penguins forward James Neal left the game early in the second period after a collision with one of the Islanders. Head coach Dan Bylsma called him day to day.