Islanders teammates celebrate center Anders Lee's score in the third...

Islanders teammates celebrate center Anders Lee's score in the third period during an NHL game on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 at Nassau Coliseum. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Perhaps it's finally time to lay to rest the comparisons with last season, or other wayward Islanders campaigns of the past two decades.

The current team has its own identity. It is, in a word, good.

The Islanders were quite good and quite composed during the final 20 minutes against their biggest out-of-town rivals, the Penguins, turning a 1-1 game into a 4-1 victory before 16,170 at Nassau Coliseum.

It was their second win in as many nights against a team that has gotten the better of them for so long.

"We don't talk about last year," Jack Capuano said after his team won for the eighth time in its last 10 games to pull into a tie for the Metropolitan Division lead with the Penguins at 28 points each. "We're a positive group, a confident group, and we play the way we need to play."

That was evident in all phases during the third period Saturday night.

Evgeni Malkin put the Penguins on top 16:49 into an evenly played first period. Matt Martin answered off a goalmouth scrum at 18:01 of a second period in which the Islanders played better, and convincingly so.

But in the third, the Isles separated themselves from a Penguins team that had been among the hottest in the league entering this 48-hour home-and-home series.

Anders Lee neatly redirected Lubomir Visnovsky's point shot past Thomas Greiss at 2:38 for a 2-1 lead.

At 5:17, the Islanders gave the Penguins and their No. 1 power play their only chance of either game. Malkin got off one good shot that Jaroslav Halak (27 saves) smothered, but otherwise, the vaunted Penguins stars were quiet.

At 9:01, well-traveled agitator Steve Downie, who fought Travis Hamonic in the first period, decided to drop Thomas Hickey well away from the puck rather than forecheck. Downie also mixed it up with the rest of the Islanders on the ice, drawing a minor and a 10-minute misconduct.

On the power play, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo made pinpoint passes, with Okposo's going to Brock Nelson for an easy tap-in and a crucial two-goal lead with 10:13 to go.

"If they want to take a bad penalty in a 2-1 game and give us a two-goal lead, we'll take that every time," Martin said.

Tavares converted a rebound at 15:46 for the clincher.

Sidney Crosby, who has done so much damage to the Islanders -- particularly at the Coliseum -- was quiet as a church mouse for a second straight night. His final stat line for the two games: No points and only one shot on goal after totaling 85 points in 46 career games against the Islanders.

"Statistically, he's hurt us pretty bad in the past," Capuano said. "You just try to contain him, limit his opportunities."

So now the Islanders have closed out another 10-game segment of their season in strong fashion.

They have the Flyers coming to the Coliseum on Monday, another rival that has owned them in seasons gone by.

But the past doesn't seem to matter to this current Islanders team. They've shown they're too good to be caught up in the bad old ways.

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