Islanders 6, Penguins 4
Leads aren't safe in the wild first-round playoff matchup between New York and Pittsburgh. Suddenly, neither are the top-seeded Penguins.
Through four games of the best-of-seven series, both teams have two wins. The latest big momentum shift has swung sharply in the direction of the No. 8 Islanders.
John Tavares scored with 9:49 left, and the Islanders beat the Penguins Tuesday night to get even in the series that will resume with Game 5 in Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
"We found a way today. Another roller coaster ride," Tavares said. "We learned from those games when we gave up leads — a lot of us said that one bounce can change a season."
Or end one.
The Penguins were ousted in the first round in each of the previous two years. They now face the prospect of another early summer if they can't turn things around quickly.
"We've got a lot of veteran guys in this room that have been through this," Penguins forward James Neal said. "We just need to regroup here. We'll come out ready to go and fired up in our own building.
"We knew what we were up against. Once you get into playoffs, seeds and where you finished is out the door."
Tavares slammed in his own rebound in front after Brad Boyes fed him following a turnover by Penguins star Evgeni Malkin. It was the Islanders' third one-goal advantage in the game. This highly entertaining series has already featured 5-4 and 6-4 finishes at Nassau Coliseum.
"This was intense and fun," said Islanders captain Mark Streit, who had two goals. "We got big chances and scored big goals. Now we have a best two of three."
Tavares was serenaded with cheers of "M-V-P" from the frantic crowd that is believing an upset is possible. Casey Cizikas shoved in a shot with 1:16 left to add some much-needed insurance.
"Not sure what it was but we have had contributions offensively and defensively from everyone in our lineup. That makes us better," Tavares said.
Brian Strait and Kyle Okposo also had goals. Evgeni Nabokov made 27 saves for the Islanders.
"You get into the playoffs, you put in so much effort to get here, we want to make the most of it," Tavaressaid. "We believe in this room. We have a lot of character."
Neal, in his return after injuring his ankle in the series opener, scored in the first period. Malkin added a tying goal in the second, and Brandon Sutter and Pascal Dupuis provided the Penguins with a pair of one-goal leads they couldn't protect.
"Momentum shifts so quickly," Neal said. "Once you regain it you've got to keep it. You saw how energetic their crowd was and how much they fed off that. We just need to put this one behind us and get back to our game. I don't think we've gotten there yet."
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped only 18 shots during a difficult night. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma was noncommittal whether Fleury would be back in the net for Game 5.
Last year, Fleury allowed 26 goals in a six-game loss to Philadelphia. He sat with his head in his hands in the crowded Penguins dressing room after the latest loss.
Senators 3, Canadiens 2
Kyle Turris scored 2:32 into overtime, lifting Ottawa past Montreal to grab a 3-1 lead in their playoff series.
Turris' shot from the sideboards sneaked past Montreal backup goalie Peter Budaj, who came on for the injured Carey Price at the start of overtime.
Cory Conacher scored with 22.6 seconds to go in regulation to force overtime. Mika Zibanejad had the other goal for the Senators, who got 26 saves from Craig Anderson.
P.K. Subban and Alex Galchenyuk scored 62 seconds apart in the second period for Montreal. Price made 30 saves two nights after allowing all six goals in Ottawa's 6-1 victory in Game 3. He was injured on Conacher's tying goal late in the third period.
Game 5 goes Thursday night in Montreal in a series that has seen a little bit of everything.
Sharks 4, Canucks 3
Patrick Marleau scored a power-play goal 13:18 into overtime and San Jose completed its first playoff sweep in franchise history.
Joe Pavelski scored his second power-play goal of the game to tie it with 4:27 left in regulation. Brent Burns also scored for the Sharks, who will now get a break before beginning the second round of the playoffs next week.
Mason Raymond, Alex Burrows and Alexander Edler scored for the Canucks, who were unable to hold onto a late third-period lead for the second time this series.
Cory Schneider made big stops early in the overtime, but gave up the rebound that led to Marleau's series-clinching goal.
With Daniel Sedin sent off for boarding Tommy Wingels, the Sharks came through with their third power-play goal of the night to win it. Joe Thornton's shot hit off Schneider and the puck was bouncing in the crease when Marleau just got his stick on it to score the winner, setting off a wild celebration at the Shark Tank and sending Vancouver to another early playoff exit.
The Canucks have lost 10 of their past 11 playoff games to raise major questions about the future of a franchise that made it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals just two years ago.
Blackhawks 3, Wild 0
Patrick Sharp scored two goals for Chicago, and the Blackhawks ratcheted up their defense, putting the Wild on the brink of elimination.
Bryan Bickell also scored and Corey Crawford made 25 saves for the Blackhawks, who built a 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven matchup.
The Wild had another goalie get hurt when Josh Harding's injury forced Darcy Kuemper into action after the first intermission. Sharp scored on Chicago's first shot at the rookie 62 seconds into the second period.
Minnesota, the only one of the 16 NHL playoff teams without a power-play goal this postseason, went scoreless in six man-advantage situations and is 0 for 15 in the series. Game 5 is back in Chicago on Thursday night.
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