Trade-deadline acquisition Kyle Palmieri pays postseason dividends, scores twice in New York Islanders’ Game 1 OT win

PITTSBURGH — The New York Islanders gave up quite a bit to acquire the services of Kyle Palmieri at the trade deadline.

And though it took him awhile, he did choose the right time to pay major dividends.

Palmieri’s second goal of the game 16:30 into overtime lifted the Islanders to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of their first-round series Sunday.

Palmieri collected a pass from Jean-Gabriel Pageau near the goal line and lifted it over Tristan Jarry and into the net as New York beat the Penguins for the first time in five tries at PPG Paints Arena this season.

Pageau and Brock Nelson also scored for the Islanders. Rookie goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 39 saves in his playoff debut and New York handed Pittsburgh its 10th loss in the franchise’s past 11 postseason games.

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Palmieri, along with veteran center Travis Zajac, was acquired from the New Jersey Devils in a package that included two draft picks, most notably New York’s No. 1 this summer. Palmieri, a proven 20-goal scorer in the league, struggled with his new club, scoring just twice in 17 regular-season games.

“Everybody knows he’s able to score. He’s always looking to create something out of nothing,” Nelson said of Palmieri. “He can find the back of the net, and it doesn’t always come easy in this league. But he goes out there and works hard. And tonight, he got rewarded.”

He was indeed all over the ice in Game 1, including time on the power play, when he was among the Islanders’ most active skaters around the net.

2 Related

“It’s an incredibly exciting time. The opportunity to be in the playoffs is something I don’t take for granted,” Palmieri said. “Obviously, it’s hard to get here. We came on the road here, on a mission, and we were able to go out there tonight, and find a way to win.”

Sidney Crosby, Frederick Gaudreau and Kasperi Kapanen scored for the Penguins, but the East Division champions couldn’t capitalize despite controlling play for most of the first two periods. Jarry finished with 37 saves but had issues with his glove side. All four of New York’s goals sailed over, around or seemingly through Jarry’s left arm.

The Islanders came in on their heels after finishing the regular season in a 6-6-3 funk, with none of the victories coming against playoff qualifiers. They appeared to have the advantage in net until veteran Semyon Varlamov was scratched, making Sorokin just the second rookie goaltender in Islanders history to start the opening game of the postseason.

The 25-year-old Russian appeared a little shaky early. After Palmieri gave the Islanders the early lead with a wrist shot from the right circle that Jarry couldn’t snag, Gaudreau tied it 11:10 into the first when he collected a rebound off his own shot and ripped it by Sorokin.

Crosby then picked up his 69th career playoff goal — and 190th career postseason point — with a sublime deflection in which he fended off New York defenseman Andy Greene and redirected the puck with just the tip of his stick.

The goal — which moved Crosby into a tie with Hall of Famer Brett Hull for seventh on the NHL’s career postseason scoring list — gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead 3:47 into the second. Sorokin responded by settling in and giving his teammates time to collect themselves.

New York eventually found its footing, playing the heavy, thudding game favored by head coach Barry Trotz. The Islanders pinned the Penguins down in their own end and kept firing away at Jarry. Pageau’s wrist shot from the left circle zipped over Jarry’s glove 3:33 into the third to tie it, and when Nelson fluttered the puck by Jarry, the Islanders appeared ready to steal the series opener.

Kapanen, however, responded less than a minute later. His fifth career playoff goal with 3:39 remaining shook the Penguins out of their doldrums and forced the extra period.

The teams traded chances for most of overtime until Palmieri found room down low to end the longest-ever playoff game between the two teams.

“I’m really glad for Palms. I know he probably put a little undue pressure on himself in the regular season when he joined us,” Trotz said. “But we knew that when the games get tight — and you have to go into the dirty areas — a guy like him is capable of producing. And he was able to do that tonight.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Published: 2021-05-16 22:25:29

Tags: #Tradedeadline #acquisition #Kyle #Palmieri #pays #postseason #dividends #scores #York #Islanders #Game #win

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