Backup provides relief for Pens
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Casey DeSmith is providing a lift for the Pittsburgh Penguins while Matt Murray is sidelined by a lower-body injury.
DeSmith made 25 saves to lead the Penguins to a 2-1 shootout win against the New York Islanders on Monday night.
“He was really good all night. He was locked in,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “He made some big saves for us.”
Jake Guentzel scored the decisive goal in the tiebreaker, helping Pittsburgh improve to 3-0-1 in its last four games. Guentzel also assisted on Derick Brassard’s tying goal in the third period.
Penguins star Phil Kessel beat Robin Lehner in the first round of the shootout, but Josh Bailey scored on New York’s third attempt to keep the tiebreaker going. Valtteri Filppula was denied by DeSmith before Guentzel closed out the win for Pittsburgh at Nassau Coliseum.
DeSmith improved to 6-1-2 in his past nine starts.
“We have to be patient and make sure we don’t beat ourselves,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “Casey was unbelievable tonight. He was right on all night. That gave us a chance in the shootout.”
Anthony Beauvillier scored in the second period for the Islanders, and Lehner finished with 23 stops.
New York had a power-play chance in overtime when Brassard was penalized for tripping Filppula. But the Islanders came up empty.
“That kill was huge,” Sullivan said. “That was the difference in the game.”
Beauvillier put the Islanders ahead with his eighth goal 6:32 into the middle period, converting a pass from Josh Bailey.
Brassard responded 2:13 into the third, knocking the puck past Lehner for his fourth goal of the season.
The teams played a scoreless first period that had plenty of drama. The Islanders failed to score on three power plays, and then killed off a four-minute penalty on captain Anders Lee.
Lee was heartened by the Islanders’ solid effort against the Penguins, who won the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017 and have a knack for getting stronger as the season moves along.
“It’s a 1-1 hockey game against a good team that ends in a shootout,” Lee said. “For the most part, we played a good game. It was a statement game for us. We were moving our feet and working hard.”
The teams split their four meetings this season.
Game notes: Islanders F Cal Clutterbuck departed after he was cross-checked by Penguins D Kris Letang. Islanders coach Barry Trotz had no update on Clutterbuck after the game. … The Islanders scratched forwards Tom Kuhnhackl and Josh Ho-Sang, who was recalled from the minors on Sunday, and defenseman Luca Sbisa. … Pittsburgh scratched defensemen Chad Ruhwedel and Jusso Riikola and forward Patric Hornqvist.
Islanders: Host Vegas Golden Knights at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday.
Penguins: Visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.