|Date of game: 5/11/2013
Recap: NY Islanders vs. Pittsburgh
Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - Brooks Orpik's first career playoff goal was an overtime winner, as his point drive with 7:49 played in the extra session sent the Pittsburgh Penguins to a series victory over the New York Islanders in Game 6 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal.
Tyler Kennedy set up the winner, skating with his back to the Isles' net into the left circle, before passing back to Orpik for a blistering one-timer that Evgeni Nabokov had no chance to stop.
"I'd much rather get one there than in the regular season, when it doesn't really matter," Orpik deadpanned about his first score in 78 NHL playoff appearances. "He (Kennedy) laid it right on a tee for me. I was just trying to put it on net, and found a hole."
Paul Martin tied the game late in regulation for the No. 1 seed Penguins, who took the set four games to two and will face the seventh-seeded Ottawa Senators in the second round.
Pittsburgh won its first playoff series since a six-game first-round decision against the Senators three years ago.
Jarome Iginla and Pascal Dupuis also lit the lamp to back a 35-save performance from Tomas Vokoun, who acquitted himself well in his second straight start for an ineffective Marc-Andre Fleury.
John Tavares, Colin McDonald and Michael Grabner tallied for the Islanders, who were bidding to take Pittsburgh to a deciding Game 7 on Sunday. Nabokov ended with just 17 saves in the season-ending defeat.
"We took some big strides as an organization this year," New York head coach Jack Capuano said. "Not many people gave us a chance to do some of the things we did. Anybody that watched the games, that saw the crowd ... I'm sure we've got some respect around the league right now."
For the eighth-seeded New Yorkers, there will be no talk of a shocking upset similar to the one that the 1993 Islanders pulled off against the stacked Penguins roster 20 years ago.
"They came at us for the whole series. They never gave up," Iginla said of the plucky Islanders.
Tavares -- one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy as league MVP -- sent the Nassau Coliseum crowd into a frenzy when he opened the scoring at 5:36 of the first period, one-timing a Josh Bailey feed high and inside the far post from the inner edge of the right circle.
Pittsburgh tied the game with 7:39 played. Sidney Crosby moved in on a breakaway off a neutral-zone turnover, and though Nabokov turned away his backhander, Iginla followed up and slid the disc home.
The hosts led by one at intermission. Grabner beat his man to a loose puck to the left of Vokoun, and his chip in front found Keith Aucoin, who passed over for an easy one-timer by McDonald with 37 seconds remaining.
Despite misfiring on a power-play chance near the midway point of the second, the Pens evened the score on Dupuis' tip from the right side of the crease with 9:01 left.
New York went ahead by a 3-2 count at 2:21 of the third, when a Pens giveaway ended up on the stick of Aucoin in the slot, who faked a shot then passed to Grabner for an easy score at the right side.
"We could have taken a bigger lead, but we couldn't do it," Tavares said. "They stayed with it and that's ultimately why they're moving on."
But Evgeni Malkin moved behind the New York net from right to left and his drop pass came to Martin at the left point. His blast elevated off the stick of Islanders forward Frans Nielsen then past Nabokov with 5:16 left in regulation.
"We needed the win. We're glad we don't have to play them tomorrow," said Vokoun.Game Notes
Orpik, who missed the first three games of the series, netted his first goal
since Nov. 21, 2011, a 5-0 win against the Islanders ... Including Saturday's
triumph, Pittsburgh's last six playoff-series clinchers have occurred on
the road (2010 ECQF vs. Ottawa, 2009 SCF vs. Detroit, 2009 ECF vs. Carolina,
2009 ECSF vs. Washington, 2009 ECQF vs. Philadelphia) ... The Penguins
also posted their first win over the Islanders in four postseason meetings,
after losing in 1975, 1982 and '93 ... Crosby's assist pulled him just one
away from tying Ron Francis for fourth place on the franchise's all-time
postseason point list with 100 ... The game was the 16th of the first round to
be decided in overtime, tying the NHL record set in last year's playoffs ...
Nielsen returned to the lineup after a one-game absence with an undisclosed