Josh Bailey’s fluky 2OT goal gives Islanders series lead

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There’s a reason why they call it the “pivotal Game 5.” And it was only fitting that one of the tightest series of the first round needed double overtime to decide it.

Josh Bailey was the hero for the Islanders, scoring 51 seconds into the second extra period to secure a 3-2 win over the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Monday night. The victory gave the Islanders a 3-2 series lead and sets them up to advance as they head back to Long Island for Game 6 on Wednesday.

Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry turned the puck over in the Pittsburgh zone before Bailey scored the game-winner.

One team was going to come out of Game 5 with its backs against the wall, and the Islanders just barely escaped that scenario.

The Islanders’ sense of urgency didn’t come through until the third period, when they were trailing 2-1. They didn’t record their first shot of that period until 8:50, but it happened to go in. Jean-Gabriel Pageau forced a turnover in the corner with a hit before Leo Komarov dished to Jordan Eberle, who lured Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry out of the crease before burying it to knot the game 2-2.

It revitalized the Isles, but shortly after, Oliver Wahlstrom had to be helped to the locker room after falling awkwardly to the ice following a hit from Penguins defenseman Michael Matheson.

The Islanders had just 19 shot attempts through two periods, bowing to the Penguins’ speed particularly in the second period, getting outshot 20-4 on the way to a 50-28 disadvantage in attempts. Despite having some offensive-zone time, including a power play, the Islanders struggled to put the puck on net. It was one of the most lopsided periods of the series, but the Penguins only came away with a 2-1 lead.

That could be chalked up to the play of goalie Ilya Sorokin. The rookie netminder made a sprawling save on Bandon Tanev on a Penguins odd-man rush just over a minute into the middle frame. And when the Islanders went on the penalty kill, Sorokin came up with saves on Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel.

But Penguins top-line winger Bryan Rust’s slapper from the top of the zone at 7:37 blew past Sorokin to regain the lead for Pittsburgh.

If not for the individual efforts of Sorokin and Anthony Beauvillier, the first period could’ve been game-defining. Sorokin, who finished with 48 saves, bailed out several Islanders in the opening 20 minutes, including two saves on the Penguins’ Teddy Blueger to make up for a Nick Leddy turnover and another on Rust following a Scott Mayfield gaffe.

The Islanders had a few sloppy turnovers in the defensive zone, one of which led to a Penguins power play after Bailey was called for slashing. Malkin took advantage of that to open up the scoring.

But with 54.4 seconds left in the first, Beauvillier willed himself to the net with a swift move around Guentzel before letting it rip to tie it at 1-1. The team who has scored first had won the first four games this series, but that trend ended in Game 5.

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