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Pens peter out after Crosby's quick goals

Isles hang tough to square series

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The puck shot by New York Islanders' Kyle Okposo (not seen) slips through the pads of Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the third period. The goal, Okposo's first NHL playoff marker, stood as the winner as the Isles rallied to a 4-3 win.

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The puck shot by New York Islanders' Kyle Okposo (not seen) slips through the pads of Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the third period. The goal, Okposo's first NHL playoff marker, stood as the winner as the Isles rallied to a 4-3 win.

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby did what he always seems to do in big moments, scoring two quick goals in his return from a broken jaw.

He gave the Pittsburgh Penguins an early two-goal lead over the New York Islanders on Friday night. Then the Islanders responded, doing something they hadn't managed in six years: win a playoff game.

Kyle Okposo provided his teammates some inspiration with a well-timed fight in the second period, and he capped a compelling New York rally with the winning goal with 7:37 to play. The Islanders' 4-3 win evened the playoff series at one game each.

Game 3 is Sunday at New York. And instead of heading to Nassau Coliseum in danger of being swept, the Islanders have the momentum after a resilient 60 minutes.

"Our guys, they're relentless," New York coach Jack Capuano said.

The Islanders needed to be after Crosby -- wearing a plastic shield to protect the jaw he broke on March 30 -- found the back of the net twice in the first 7:37.

For a moment, the Islanders bench flash backed to an ugly 5-0 loss in Game 1 when Pittsburgh struck for three early scores to take any drama out of the proceedings.

Capuano kept telling his players all it took was a bounce here or there to get back in it.

The critical bounce came in the third period. Okposo fired a shot wide of the net that caromed back to the crease, then rolled off Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and across the goal line to give New York its first playoff win since April 14, 2007 against Buffalo.

"We're in the series," Okposo said. "We just wanted to come out and let them know that we're not going away."

Matt Moulson, Colin McDonald and Matt Martin also scored for the Islanders. Evgeni Nabokov overcame a sloppy start to make 30 saves as the youthful Islanders weathered the comeback of the NHL's best player.

Doctors cleared Crosby to play late Thursday and the arena erupted when his familiar No. 87 skated onto the ice. Adding the league's third-leading scorer to the lineup figured to make New York's task all the more daunting.

Instead, the Islanders counterattacked effectively all night, providing the Penguins with an ugly reminder of their first-round collapse against Philadelphia last spring when the Flyers lit them up for 30 goals in six games. New York peppered Fleury for 42 shots. Fleury turned aside 38, though that number doesn't include the 18 Islanders shots that missed the net or the 19 that Pittsburgh blocked, numbers that kept Fleury busy all night.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 4, 2013 C3

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