Islanders right wing Tom Kuhnhackl (14) battles in the goal...

Islanders right wing Tom Kuhnhackl (14) battles in the goal with Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) during the first period of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum. Credit: Newsday/William Perlman

Play had barely begun when the on-ice drama began. 

The Islanders rebounded – figuratively, literally – on Jordan Eberle’s goal 1:40 into the game to take the early lead on the Penguins in Game 1 of the first-round series.

The goal came a little over a minute after Tom Kuhnackl wrister beat Matt Murray to the top corner, apparently scoring the game’s first goal 33 seconds into the game. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan challenged the play, and the replay showed Kuhnhackl  - the former Penguin – offside, crossing the blue line before Matt Martin had left the zone.

The Islanders are 31-9-5 when they score first, and 15-7-3 when they score first at home.

Kuhnhackl Wednesday got the nod over Michael Dal Colle, with his experience with the playoffs and the penalty kill as the primary factor (the Pens lethal power play was fifth in the league).

“Penalty kill experience is in Tommy’s favor, no question,” Trotz said. “Size and maybe a little bit of offense, I would say (goes to) Dal Colle. There’s different things that those guys bring to it.

“I think we weighed it out.  It’s close, but I think we have a plan going into it a certain way and we have a pretty good option on the other side of it.”

Kuhnhackl spent three seasons with Pittsburgh, playing a total of 47 playoff games. 

Phil Kessel scored at 5:42 of the first to tie it. 

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