PITTSBURGH (AP) — John Tavares and Anthony Beauvillier scored in the shootout to lead the New York Islanders over the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 on Friday night.
Beauvillier opened the shootout with a goal, and Tavares snapped a wrist shot past Marc-Andre Fleury in the next round. Sidney Crosby scored in the shootout for Pittsburgh, but Jaroslav Halak, making his first start since Dec. 29, stopped Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino.
Anders Lee scored his 28th goal of the season, while Brock Nelson got his 17th and Casey Cizikas his eighth for the Islanders, who moved into the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. New York is tied with Boston at 82 points, but the Islanders have a game in hand on the Bruins. The Islanders have 18 wins in 31 games since Doug Weight was named interim coach on Jan. 17, replacing Jack Capuano.
Halak, a former All-Star, made 37 saves. He got the nod one day after he was recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. Halak, who has seven wins in 20 games, allowed four goals on 24 shots during a loss at Minnesota in his most recent start.
Crosby extended his NHL lead with his 42nd goal. He is five points behind Edmonton forward Connor McDavid for the NHL scoring lead. Cameron Gaunce scored his first with the Penguins and second of his career. Matt Cullen also scored his 11th for the Penguins, who missed out on an opportunity to pull even with the Washington Capitals atop the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh, with eight wins in its last 12 games, is one point behind the Capitals and two ahead of Columbus for third place. Fleury made 43 saves.
Cullen tied the game with 6:10 to play. He converted the rebound past Halak after Gaunce’s drive to the net.
The Penguins have remained in contention despite playing without a host of regular contributors.
Former NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin missed his fifth straight game with an upper-body injury, but forward Bryan Rust, who was also out with an upper-body injury, returned on Friday after missing 20 games.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Malkin is making progress, in addition to other injured regulars who are also skating. The list includes Kris Letang (upper body), Trevor Daley (knee), Olli Maatta (hand) and Ron Hainsey (upper body). Maatta has missed 17 games, while Letang and Daley have both been sidelined 14 games.
The Islanders hit three posts in the first period and had a goal waived off as time expired.
Nelson scored for the Islanders, but the goal was disallowed following Pittsburgh’s challenge for goaltender interference.
Nelson scored again in the second period and this one counted. Nelson tied the game after Gaunce opened the scoring early in the period for Pittsburgh.
Lee gave the Islanders the lead later in the period, a goal that was upheld after Pittsburgh challenged for offsides. Tavares recorded his 300th NHL assist and Josh Bailey his 300th point on the goal.
Crosby’s goal tied it, but Cizikas gave the Islanders the lead, scoring with 4.5 seconds left in the second period. Tavares stripped Chad Ruhwedel of the puck in the defensive zone and set up Cizikas for the goal.
NOTES: Penguins F Nick Bonino played in his 400th NHL game. … Islanders F Ryan Strome is out three to six weeks with an upper-body injury. Strome, who left Wednesday’s win against the New York Rangers, has 13 goals and 30 points in 69 games. … Islanders D Johnny Boychuk missed his 10th straight game with a lower-body injury.
Islanders: Host Boston on Saturday.
Penguins: Welcome Philadelphia on Sunday.
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