(Sports Network) - The top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins will try to extend their lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals when they visit the New York Islanders for Game 4 clash at Nassau Coliseum this evening.
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The Islanders took Game 2 in Pittsburgh on Friday to even the best-of-seven series at 1-1, but the Penguins claimed a 5-4 overtime decision on Sunday to regain the advantage.
Chris Kunitz scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner on a power play 8:44 into overtime to help the Atlantic Division champions outlast New York. However, the eighth-seeded Islanders gave Pittsburgh all it could handle, as they trailed 4-2 heading into the third period before goals from Kyle Okposo and John Tavares sent the game to overtime.
A penalty call gave Pittsburgh an opportunity with the man advantage in overtime, as Brian Strait took down Sidney Crosby in front of the net and was sent to the penalty box for holding. On the ensuing power play, Crosby controlled the puck along the goal line before sliding a pass to Kunitz, whose one-timer got past Isles goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.
"(That felt) really good, definitely to get the win there in overtime," Kunitz said. "In a game that had too many bad plays by us to be able to let them come back and get them in front, we did a good job of getting one in overtime."
Sunday's contest was the first home playoff game for the Islanders since April 18, 2007 against the Buffalo Sabres. With the Game 3 defeat, New York has lost seven straight home playoff games.
"We came out and the crowd was electric," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "But the discipline on penalties, when you play an experienced team like that, that was obviously the turning point in the hockey game. Two power-play goals, special teams, they got the edge tonight and that's why they won the game."
The Islanders, who were 10-11-3 as the host during the regular season, last claimed a playoff victory at Nassau Coliseum when they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on April 28, 2002.
Pittsburgh, which will host Game 5 on Thursday, had identical 18-6-0 records at home and on the road this season.
The Penguins played without James Neal for a second straight game on Sunday and he is questionable for Game 4 with a lower-body injury. Neal finished second on Pittsburgh with 21 goals this season.
Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik has sat out five in a row dating back to the regular season due to a lower-body injury. He is also questionable for Tuesday.
This is the fourth time the Penguins and Islanders are meeting in the playoffs. The Isles won the previous three series (1975, 1982, 1993) including an upset seven-game victory over the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pens in the Patrick Division finals in '93, which was the last time the club won a playoff series.