The Upshot: NY Islanders rally in a must-win game vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders
Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages


Playing in his 1,200th career game, Zach Parise scored with 2:43 remaining in the third period to rally the New York Islanders to a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at UBS Arena on Friday night. The Islanders trailed 4-2 late in the third period, but Anders Lee scored his second goal of the game at 19:32 of the period to bring the Islanders to within one at the second intermission.

Brock Nelson would tie the game on the power play at 5:01 of the third period. Nelson had a pair of goals, and Ilya Sorokin made 40 saves in the win for the Islanders (28-23-7). The Penguins got two goals from Rickard Rakell, and Sidney Crosby added a goal and an assist. Casey DeSmith made 23 saves in the loss for Pittsburgh (27-18-9).


The move to put Anders Lee on the top line with Mathew Barzal and Bo Horvat was a success. From start to finish, the new line was asked to carry the load for the Islanders, and they were more than up to the task. The line responded after Sidney Crosby's goal gave the Penguins an early 1-0 lead on Lee's 20th goal of the season. It was non-traditional highlight-reel goal as he found the puck laying on Casey DeSmiths belly, stomach, torso or something else and lifted it into the net.

But Lee's second goal, in the final minute of the second period was the biggest goal of the game. Rickard Rackell scored a deflating goal to give the Penguins a 4-2 lead, but the Isles were able to get one back behind the end of the period and carry the momentum forward.


Despite all the emphasis in practice about being more physical, finishing checks, and pushing your opponent out of position, multiple times Penguins forwards found themselves alone in front of the ice and in position to find rebounds and deflect pucks that Ilya Sorokin didn't have much chance on.

After a solid stretch of games not allowing more than two goals, the Islanders have allowed 12 goals in their last three home games - all with Sorokin in the net. Things will have to tighten back up if they have a shot against Boston on Saturday and in Pittsburgh on Monday.


Per NHL PR, Zach Parise is set to appear in his 1,200th career contest and will become the 12th active skater to reach the milestone and the fourth active U.S.-born, following Ryan Suter (1,335 GP), Phil Kessel (1,259 GP) and Joe Pavelski (1,223 GP).

Parise scored the game-winning goal in game No. 1,200. The goal was originally credited to Brock Nelson, which would've been a hat trick. A number of fans even showered the ice with their hats, but the replay from another angle showed the puck deflected twice, the second time off the heel of Parise's stick and into the net and he fell into the boards.


We always love Dad's weekend no matter what, and love seeing the section celebrate after a big goal.


The Islanders are right back on it on Saturday as they travel to Boston to take on the NHL-best Bruins. Face-off from TD Garden is scheduled for 5:00 PM ET.