Islanders 4, Penguins 3
Sidney Crosby did what he always seems to do in big moments, scoring two quick goals in his return from a broken jaw.
He gave the Pittsburgh Penguins an early two-goal lead over the New York Islanders on Friday night. Then the Islanders responded, doing something they hadn't managed in six years: win a playoff game.
Kyle Okposo provided his teammates some inspiration with a well-timed fight in the second period, and he capped a compelling New York rally with winning goal with 7:37 to play. The Islanders' 4-3 win evened the playoff series at one game each.
Game 3 is Sunday at New York. And instead of heading to Nassau Coliseum in danger of being swept, the Islanders have the momentum after a resilient 60 minutes.
"Our guys, they're relentless," New York coach Jack Capuano said.
The Islanders needed to be after Crosby — wearing a plastic shield to protect the jaw he broke on March 30 — found the back of the net twice in the first 7:37.
For a moment, the Islanders bench flash backed to an ugly 5-0 loss in Game 1 when Pittsburgh struck for three early scores to take any drama out of the proceedings.
Capuano kept telling his players all it took was a bounce here or there to get back in it.
The critical bounce came in the third period. Okposo fired a shot wide of the net that caromed back to the crease, then rolled off Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and across the goal line to give New York its first playoff win since April 14, 2007 against Buffalo.
"We're in the series," Okposo said. "We just wanted to come out and let them know that we're not going away."
Matt Moulson, Colin McDonald and Matt Martin also scored for the Islanders. Evgeni Nabokov overcame a sloppy start to make 30 saves as the youthful Islanders weathered the comeback of the NHL's best player.
Doctors cleared Crosby to play late Thursday and the arena erupted when his familiar No. 87 skated onto the ice. Adding the league's third-leading scorer to the lineup figured to make New York's task all the more daunting.
Instead the Islanders counter-attacked effectively all night, providing the Penguins with an ugly reminder of their first-round collapse against Philadelphia last spring when the Flyers lit them up for 30 goals in six games. New York peppered Fleury for 42 shots. Fleury turned aside 38, though that number doesn't include the 18 Islanders shots that missed the net or the 19 that Pittsburgh blocked, numbers that kept Fleury busy all night.
"It's the playoffs; you lose games sometimes," Crosby said. "But I think we've got to make sure we learn from this one pretty quickly. It's not the way we want to play, and we definitely have a lot of room to improve."
Canadiens 3, Senators 1
Ryan White started a three-goal second period and goalie Carey Price was back in top form with 29 saves as the Canadiens evened their playoff series.
The best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal is tied 1-1 heading into Game 3 on Sunday in Ottawa.
Brendan Gallagher and Michael Ryder also scored for Montreal. Milan Michalek scored for Ottawa, which was let down by a power play that went 0-for-4.
There was anticipation of rough play after Eric Gryba's hit that saw Montreal's Lars Eller carried off the Bell Centre ice on a stretcher with a concussion and some missing teeth in Ottawa's 4-2 win in the series opener on Thursday night. Eller spent the night in hospital and was released Friday morning.
Gryba drew a two-game suspension from the NHL and sat out Game 2.
Sharks 3, Canucks 2 (OT)
Raffi Torres scored at 5:31 of overtime to give San Jose a 2-0 lead over Vancouver.
The series shifts to San Jose for games Sunday and Tuesday. San Jose was 17-2-5 at home this season.
Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, whose goal in the final minute of the third period forced overtime, also scored for San Jose.
The Canucks took their sixth consecutive loss in a home playoff game. Now, they might not get another one after winning their fifth consecutive Northwest Division title.
Ryan Kesler scored two third-period goals for Vancouver, helping the Canucks overcome a 1-0 deficit that stood since the first period.
Blackhawks 5, Wild 2
Patrick Sharp and Michael Frolik had two goals apiece, and Chicago beat Minnesota in Game 2 of its first-round playoff series.
Patrick Kane added two assists as Chicago put together a strong start and impressive finish to open a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Bryan Bickell added an empty-net score to his winning goal in the Blackhawks' 2-1 overtime victory in the postseason opener Tuesday night.
Game 3 is Sunday afternoon in Minnesota.
Devin Setoguchi and Marco Scandella scored for the Wild, who are making their first postseason appearance in five years.
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