PITTSBURGH — The Islanders now have a comeback streak to go along with matching the franchise record for gaining at least a point in 15 consecutive games.
This time, the Islanders twice battled back from two-goal deficits and scored twice in the final 4:19 of regulation to beat the Penguins, 5-4, in overtime on Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena.
The Islanders (15-3-1) somewhat improbably improved their points streak to 14-0-1 after they also opened this two-game road trip by having to rally from three goals down in the third period for a 4-3 shootout win at Philadelphia on Saturday night.
“In Philly, we had juice,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “I thought we played 60 minutes well and we just weren’t getting any results. Today, I didn’t feel that way. I didn’t think we had a lot of juice in our lineup.”
Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the Islanders are the first team in NHL history to win back-to-back games after trailing by multiple goals in the last seven minutes of the third period in each game.
“We just had the belief that we can come back,” said center Brock Nelson, who got to the crease for the winner at 2:55 of overtime for his second goal of the game in a three-point performance in his 499th game as an Islander. It was Casey Cizikas' 500th with the Isles.
Nelson had a scary first-period moment when he took defenseman Ryan Pulock’s slap shot off his helmet.
The teams meet again on Thursday night at Barclays Center as the Islanders will look to extend their point streak to a franchise-best 16 games. The Islanders had a 15-game winning streak from Jan. 21 to Feb. 20, 1982.
Within this streak, the Penguins snapped the Islanders’ 10-game winning run with a 4-3 overtime victory in Brooklyn on Nov. 7, rallying from a three-goal deficit in the third period. But the Islanders still have not lost in regulation since a 5-2 defeat at Carolina on Oct. 11.
“What we’re doing right now is something special,” said right wing Derick Brassard, who had two assists.
Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves while Matt Murray stopped 37 shots for the Penguins (11-7-3), who were playing their third game without Sidney Crosby as he’s out for a minimum of six weeks with core muscle surgery.
Jake Guentzel’s power-play goal at 2:39 of the third period made it 4-2 just 24 seconds after Mathew Barzal inadvisedly tripped Joseph Blandisi behind the Islanders’ crease. Trotz then briefly benched Barzal.
But Josh Bailey converted Jordan Eberle’s feed at 15:41 to bring the Islanders within 4-3. Pulock’s blast at 18:28 tied it at 4-4 with Varlamov off for an extra skater.
“I think the turning point was Bails, with his backcheck there,” Brassard said. “He skated all the way down. It was a great play by Eberle and it kind of gave us life.”
Anthony Beauvillier, with his fifth goal in three games, had snapped a shot over Murray’s glove from the left circle to bring the Islanders within 2-1 at 2:39 of the second period and Nelson, tipping defenseman Nick Leddy’s point shot, tied it at 2-2 at 5:30.
“We don’t want to keep doing that every game,” Beauvillier said. “We want to play with the lead.”
Varlamov was slow to his left and Brandon Tanev knocked in a wraparound attempt off defenseman Adam Pelech’s skate to regain a 3-2 lead for the Penguins at 14:31 of the second period.
The Islanders trailed 2-0 after one period for the second straight game.
Bryan Rust’s wrist shot made it 1-0 at 11:34 of the first period and Tanev’s tip of defenseman John Marino’s point shot gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead at 16:18.
The Islanders’ 15-game streak with at least one point:
Oct. 12: Islanders 3, Panthers 2 (SO)
Oct. 14: Islanders 3, Blues 2 (OT)
Oct. 17: Islanders 3, Jets 1
Oct. 19: Islanders 3, Blue Jackets 2 (OT)
Oct. 24: Islanders 4, Coyotes 2
Oct. 25: Islanders 4, Senators 2
Oct. 27: Islanders 5, Flyers 3
Nov. 1: Islanders 5, Lightning 2
Nov. 2: Islanders 1, Sabres 0
Nov. 5: Islanders 4, Senators 1
Nov. 7: Penguins 4, Islanders 3 (OT)
Nov. 9: Islanders 2, Panthers 1
Nov. 13: Islanders 5, Maple Leafs 4
Nov. 16: Islanders 4, Flyers 3 (SO)
Nov. 19: Islanders 5, Penguins 4 (OT)