It took 28 years but the New York Islanders finally gave Nassau Coliseum another clinching moment Wednesday night.
Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock scored the tying and go-ahead goals 13 seconds apart in the second period as the Islanders eliminated the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5-3 win in Game 6 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinals series in front of a raucous crowd of 9,000 in Uniondale, N.Y.
The Islanders, seeded fourth in the East Division, advance to face the third-seeded Boston Bruins in the semifinals.
Nelson scored twice with an assist and Anthony Beauvillier and Kyle Palmieri also scored as the Islanders closed out a series at the Coliseum for the first time since beating the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the Patrick Division semifinals on April 28, 1993.
It’s the second time in nine months the Islanders have snapped a lengthy playoff-related drought. New York reached the conference semifinals last September for the first time since 1993.
The Islanders haven’t made the Stanley Cup Finals since 1984, when their dynastic four-year reign ended with a loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Three of the Cups were closed out at the Coliseum.
Ilya Sorokin made 34 saves for the Isles.
Jeff Carter, Jake Guentzel and Jason Zucker scored for the Penguins, who have won just one playoff series since winning the second of back-to-back Cups in 2017. Goalie Tristan Jarry recorded 19 saves.
The teams swapped goals during a frantic first period. Carter scored 87 seconds after faceoff and Beauvillier tied the score at the 5:16 mark. Guentzel scored on the power play with 8:48 left but Palmieri produced the equalizer just 1:13 later.
Zucker redirected a shot by Cody Ceci 1:53 into the second before the Islanders scored three goals in 2:59. Nelson took a cross-ice pass from Josh Bailey and fired a shot under Jarry’s arm at the 8:35 mark for the 3-3 tie.
Nelson’s goal hadn’t been announced before Pulock’s sizzler from just inside the blue line off a New York faceoff win gave the Islanders the lead. Nelson extended the lead to 5-3 by sending a shot from the slot under Jarry’s legs with 8:26 left.
The Penguins outshot the Islanders 12-5 in the third but had no serious threats after an opening minute power play expired.
–Field Level Media