NEW YORK — The Islanders held a three-goal lead and were 20 minutes from extending the second-longest winning streak in franchise history.
Instead, they are left with questions after an uncharacteristic third-period collapse.
The Penguins scored three third-period goals within seven minutes, 10 seconds and Bryan Rust, with his second goal of the game, notched the winner at 3:25 of overtime as the Islanders had their 10-game winning streak snapped in a 4-3 loss on Thursday night at Barclays Center.
The Islanders had been 9-0-0 when holding a lead after two periods.
The franchise record is a 15-game winning streak from Jan. 21 to Feb. 20, 1982 that the Penguins snapped with a 4-3 win on Feb. 21, 1982.
Thursday marked the first time the teams have met since the Islanders swept the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs.
Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves for the Islanders (11-3-1) as coach Barry Trotz stuck to his strict goalie rotation. Matt Murray stopped 20 shots for the Penguins (9-6-1).
Varlamov’s bid for a second straight shutout after making 27 saves in a 1-0 win at Buffalo on Saturday night ended at 1:38 of the third period as Jared McCann beat him through a screen to cut the Islanders’ lead to 3-1. That snapped Varlamov’s shutout streak at 104:34.
Rust brought the Penguins within 3-2 at 6:16 off the rush seconds after Murray sprawled to rob Anthony Beauvillier at the right post. Evgeni Malkin tied it at 3 as he muscled his way into position to backhand in the rebound of defenseman Juuso Riikola’s shot off the crossbar at 8:48.
Scoring from the bottom-six forwards was a significant factor in Tuesday night’s 4-1 win over the Senators at Barclays Center as Cal Clutterbuck scored his first goal in 32 games, Casey Cizikas scored his first goal of the season — with each assisting on the other’s goal — and 26-year-old rookie Cole Bardreau scoring his first NHL goal on a penalty shot.
That trend continued on Thursday with both Clutterbuck and Cizikas scoring again.
Clutterbuck, taking a pass from Cizikas after he beat Sidney Crosby on the faceoff to start the Penguins’ power play, beat Murray through his pads for a 2-0 lead at 6:28 of the second period.
The Islanders have scored shorthanded goals in back-to-back games and have three this season.
Defenseman Adam Pelech, who along with Ryan Pulock saw the bulk of the time matched against Crosby’s top line, connected on a slap shot from the blue line that deflected off the skate of Penguins defenseman to make it 3-0 at 9:26 of the second period.
Cizikas had given the Islanders a 1-0 lead just 19 seconds into the first period, the fastest goal the team has scored this season. Cizikas positioned himself at the left post and was able to roof a backhander after the puck took a fortuitous bounce to him.
Varlamov had to be sharp in the early going as the Penguins held an 8-3 shot advantage at 7:57 of the first period, turning aside Crosby’s deflection and Alex Galchenyuk at the crease.
The Islanders are the 27th team in NHL history to have a winning streak of 11 or more games. The breakdown:
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