“Mr. Overtime,” left wing Anthony Beauvillier said of his line’s streaking center, who was dominant on Thursday night in his 500th NHL game.
Nelson’s second goal of the game — and his second overtime winner in this home-and-home series with the Penguins — gave the Islanders a 4-3 victory before a crowd of 13,212 at Barclays Center.
The Islanders (16-3-1) shook off another sluggish start, twice came back from one-goal deficits and blew a late lead but still extended their run to 15-0-1. That bests the three 15-game point streaks in Islanders history, most recently a 15-0-0 run from Jan. 21 to Feb. 20, 1982.
“We’ve won a number of different ways now in this run,” said Nelson, who took a team-high five shots in 21:15 and won 12 of 17 faceoffs. “It’s special. It’s something we really haven’t thought about much. It just means we have a special group of guys in here. It’s not always pretty. Right now, we have a lot of confidence in our ability and finding ways to win.”
Nelson carried the puck into the Penguins’ zone, slid it to his backhand and beat Matt Murray (20 saves) at 4:16 of overtime. He also beat Murray at 2:55 of overtime on Tuesday night as the Islanders twice rallied from two-goal deficits for a 5-4 win in Pittsburgh.
“It feels like it’s the same story after every win,” said Beauvillier, whose power-play goal at 11:38 of the second period tied the score at 2. “Making history, it’s obviously a huge thing for the organization. Everyone is happy to be a part of it. It’s something we’re going to remember for probably the rest of our lives. It’s a story we’re going to tell at the end of our careers.”
The Islanders were 29.9 seconds from a victory in regulation, but Patric Hornqvist tipped in the puck at the crease with Murray off for an extra skater to tie it at 3 for the Penguins (11-7-4).
Nelson’s power-play goal at 15:08 of the third period off an offensive-zone faceoff gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead.
“It would have been nice to get that one [the victory] before overtime,” he said.
The Penguins, who played without Sidney Crosby and defensemen Kris Letang and Justin Schultz on Thursday night, snapped the Islanders’ 10-game winning streak on Nov. 7 in Brooklyn, rallying from a three-goal third-period deficit for a 4-3 overtime victory. But the Islanders still have not lost in regulation since a 5-2 defeat at Carolina on Oct. 11.
The Islanders, who have had the fewest man-advantage opportunities in the NHL, were 2-for-7 on the power play. That was the most power plays they have gotten since Barry Trotz became coach last season.
Thomas Greiss made 23 saves as he won his eighth straight start.
The Islanders anticipated the Penguins would start strongly and still be ticked off about Tuesday’s loss, and Evgeni Malkin gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 1:04 off the Islanders’ sloppy puck management in the defensive zone.
The Islanders didn’t get their first shot until Nelson got a power-play chance at 10:03.
Defenseman Scott Mayfield tied it at 1-1 at 15:12 of the first period. He shot from the right point after Mathew Barzal beat Malkin cleanly on an offensive-zone faceoff.
Bryan Rust gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead at 1:09 of the second period on an unassisted rush.
“Good teams find ways to win,” Mayfield said. “You always see that saying. But we’ve got to fix our starts.”
Longest point streaks:
24 – Blackhawks (2013) 21-0-3
19 – Bruins (2018-19) 15-0-4
18 – Bruins (2017-18) 14-0-4; Blue Jackets (2016-17) 17-0-1
16 – Lightning (2018-19) 15-0-1; Bruins (2013-14) 15-0-1
16 – Oct. 12-Nov. 21, 2019 – 15-0-1
15 – Jan. 21-Feb. 20, 1982 – 15-0-0
Nov. 4-Dec. 2, 1980 – 13-0-2
Nov. 4-Dec. 9, 1978 – 12-0-3