If Barry Trotz wasn’t aware of the Josh Bailey song after before Game 4, the New York Islanders head coach will be more than familiar with it by the time the team’s flight lands back on Long Island.
Bailey played the hero on Monday night, along with Ilya Sorokin, delivering the game-winning goal 51 seconds into double overtime to give the Islanders a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. In what can only be described as the heist of the century, the Islanders rallied from down 2-1 in the third period to take a 3-2 series lead back to Long Island with a chance to close things out on Wednesday at the Nassau Coliseum.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Jean-Gabriel Pageau said. “There’s one thing I know about this group of guys and it’s we left it all out there. Just to get rewarded, it might not have been our prettiest… it’s an amazing feeling. We turn the page, we’re definitely happy about this one, but we have to focus on the next one.”
Tristan Jarry went to clear the puck up the ice and had his pass attempt picked off by Bailey. The Islanders forward skated into the slot and put the puck past Jarry for the game-winner and his third goal of the playoffs.
“At first I was just trying to settle it down and get a good shot off,” Bailey said about the goal. “I ultimately ran out of time and tried to let one go. Happy to see it go in.”
The goal capped a night that saw the Islanders severely outplayed for much of the game and have to battle back twice during the 60-minute affair. Anthony Beauvillier scored the New York Islanders first goal of the night and erased a 1-0 deficit in the final minute of the first period and Jordan Eberle scored on the Islanders’ first shot of the third period.
Ilya Sorokin was lights out again in his third start of the series, making 48 saves on 50 shots and holding off Pittsburgh when the Islanders were at their most vulnerable on Monday night. Sorokin was named the game’s second star for his efforts.
Sorokin helped guild the Islanders through a turbulent first and second period, where he had to make 32 saves in the first 40 minutes of the game.
“Outstanding. I can use all the ones that you want to write, they all will apply,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “He was outstanding. He gave us a chance. The first two periods were not pretty and he allowed us to hang around.”
Trotz added: “It all goes up front to Ilya. We don’t have a chance without him.”
Pittsburgh scored the opening goal of the game 8:20 into the first while on the power play. Evgeni Malkin found the back of the net for the first time in the series with a hard wrist shot that went over the shoulder of Sorokin.
While Pittsburgh continued to dominate the Islanders in the first period, they still managed to find a way to even the score in the final minute of the first. Beauvillier took the puck through the neutral zone and into the Pittsburgh end, while weaving through defenders, before flipping it over Jarry to even the game at one with 54.4 seconds left in the period.
Pittsburgh regained the lead after Bryan Rust ripped a shot from just above the faceoff circle that beat an extended leg of Sorokin. Sidney Crosby had the primary assist on the goal, which was his first point of the series since Game 1.
“We weren’t playing very well,” Eberle said. “We were getting outshot and outchanced and Beau finds a way to beat a couple of guys and get us a big goal. It reenergized us a little bit. We hung in there.”
While the New York Islanders picked up a massive win, it did come at a cost. Oliver Wahlstrom left the game in the third period after colliding with Mike Matheson and going awkwardly into the boards.
Wahlstrom left the ice with the help of Scott Mayfield and a team trainer. Trotz did not have an update on Wahlstrom after the game.
Game 6 is scheduled for Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum.