With Fans in Full Throat, Islanders Upset Penguins in Round One

The islanders arrived at the Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday and had the opportunity for the first time since 1993 to claim a win in the playoff series in their native homeland.

A noisy home crowd – the arena’s capacity was increased from 6,800 at the start of the series to 9,000 for Game 6 – was an added bonus, and the islanders did not disappoint.

A seesaw tipped the Islanders’ way in the middle of the second half when Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock scored 13 seconds apart and the Islanders were one goal ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nelson scored again three minutes later to score a 5-3 win. The fourth-occupied islanders angered the penguins, who had won the East Division, and ended the series of the first round with three straight wins. The islanders will continue their playoffs against the Boston Bruins in their final season at the Coliseum.

Rookie netminder Ilya Sorokin, who won all four games he started in his first playoff series, scored 34 saves for victory. He stopped 27 of the 28 shots he has faced in the last two periods, including a rejection from Evgeni Malkin on one runaway. The stop brought cascading chants of “Ilya, Ilya” out from the crowd of the Colosseum and summed up the series: Penguin Frustration and composed the execution of the islanders.

“The crowd was loud – they were loud,” said Nelson. “You gave us a boost. We wanted to win this one before them. “

Josh Bailey’s fifth overtime winner in Game 5 on Monday in Pittsburgh had inspired fans as the chance of promotion lay in their trembling fingertips. The team hadn’t won a series on Long Island since a six-game win over the Washington Capitals in April 1993, though it had won a series in 2016 when it played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Each team scored two goals in the first period. Penguin center Jeff Carter scored his fourth goal in the series just 1 minute 27 seconds into the competition before Anthony Beauvillier frenzied the crowd at 5:16 am when he shot the puck past Penguin goalkeeper Tristan Jarry.

Jake Guentzel gave the visitors the lead with a power play goal at 11:12 am while Islanders defender Scott Mayfield was in the box for checking in on Malkin.

But Kyle Palmieri, one of the Islanders’ late-season signings from the Devils, hit a rebound past Jarry at 12:25 p.m., reconnected the score, and scored his third goal in the series.

Travis Zajac, also taken over by the Devils, made his series debut, replacing Oliver Wahlstrom, who was injured in Game 5. Zajac and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who had two points, supported Pulock’s starting goal.

The Penguins began the third period with a power game after a controversial call against Pulock late in the second. But penguin captain Sidney Crosby’s shot from the post was as close as Pittsburgh.

The islanders entered the competition with the story by their side.

They came into play with an 11-1 record in Game 6s as they led a three-to-two-game streak. And they were 7-2 in playoff games against Pittsburgh under coach Barry Spy, including a 3-1 mark at the Nassau Coliseum.

Fans enjoy one last chance for playoff games at their intimate home stadium, which opened in 1972. The team will move into their state-of-the-art home at Belmont Park next season, but that can wait for the franchise to chase its first title in four consecutive championships from 1980 to 1983.

“This is only one step,” said Nelson. “We want to write our own history here at Coli.”

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