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O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN! Anders Lee Leads Islanders to Much Needed Win over Pens

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New York Islanders Win Anders Lee

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — On a night when Jordan Eberle had a pair of goals for the New York Islanders, it was captain Anders Lee who had the biggest one of the night.

With the game tied at three with under five minutes to play, Lee scored the game-winning goal to propel the Islanders to a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins and snap a five-game losing streak. The game was the Islanders first game in six days.

The Islanders Captain’s winning tally came with 2:44 left in the game and New York on the power play. Pittsburgh starter Tristian Jarry thought he had the puck in his pads, but it had snuck free and Lee was able to push the loose puck into the net.

The goal was Lee’s fourth of the season and came at a time when the Islanders need a win the most. The Islanders had been 0-3-2 in their previous five games and had sunk to the bottom of the East Division.

“Probably like a starving person needing food, that’s probably how bad we needed (a win),” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “We needed it for confidence. We need it to get ourselves back in the race. We played a few less games. We found a way to battle again. I didn’t like a lot of things that we did, but the one thing I did like is that they scored a goal at the end of the second period. … And then they take the lead, but I liked our response after the goal.”

Saturday night’s win was anchored by a two-goal night for Jordan Eberle, a two-point night for Michael Dal Colle and a 28 save performance from Semyon Varlamov. The multi-goal effort was Eberle’s first in the regular season since Feb. 21 against Detroit.

“Going into the third period of this game, every guy in the locker room knew that we needed to get to points to start climbing up the standings,” Eberle said. “You look at where you are, it’s a short season and you don’t want to get too far behind and we play these guys a lot. The nice thing about the way the season is set up this year, you’re never really out of it. … It’s time we start getting on a roll and build our game here.”

In addition, the win marked Varalmov’s 500th NHL game.

“I’m excited of course about the win, but I’m also really happy about finally playing 500 games,” Varlamov said. “I was very happy all day today just thinking about the game. I was looking forward to playing this game. It’s a pretty big achievement for me, especially for my family. I want to say thank you to all the coaches and all the staff, all the trainers who have been part of those 500 games.”

Eberle scored his first goal of the game 10:22 into the game. The New York Islanders were able to cause a turnover as Pittsburgh tried to enter the offensive zone and pushed the puck the other way.

Michael Dal Colle picked up the puck along the wall and fed Eberle, who charged towards the net and backhanded it past Tristian Jarry.  The assist was Dal Colle’s first point of the season.

Pittsburgh tied the game at one at 13:43 on Pierre-Olivier Joseph’s first career NHL goal. The rookie fired a powerful shot from inside the faceoff circle that beat Varlamov.

Eberle gave the New York Islanders back the lead at 15:45 on a play that highlighted how well the second line had worked on Saturday night. Eberle was able to work the puck into the Pittsburgh zone before he had it knocked away.

Dal Colle was able to stay with the puck and move it over to Brock Nelson, who in turn managed to get the puck on net which allowed Eberle to score on the rebound.

Pittsburgh pushed in the second period and Evgeni Malkin was rewarded with a late period goal to even tie the game back up at two. The Islanders turned the puck over just inside their own blue line and Malkin was able to put a quick wrister past Varlamov.

Pittsburgh took their first lead of the night at the 3:19 mark of the third. The Islanders got caught flat-footed and Jake Guentzel was able to bury a shot from the slot to put Pittsburgh up 3-2.

Their lead was short-lived, only lasting just over five minutes. Cal Clutterbuck was able to even the score up at three at 8:23 off a feed from Casey Cizikas.

The goal was Clutterbuck’s first since Dec. 5, 2019.

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