April 17, 2019 / 2:25 AM / 3 days ago

Lehner, Isles shut down Penguins to seal sweep

Jordan Eberle scored for the fourth time in as many games, and Brock Nelson added the winner Tuesday as the visiting New York Islanders completed a first-round playoff sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 3-1 win.

Apr 16, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Leo Komarov (47) takes the ice for warm-ups against the Pittsburgh Penguins before game four of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Islanders, who finished second in the Metropolitan Division, used a consistent formula of stifling defense, effective puck pursuit, strong goaltending from Robin Lehner and just enough offense to oust the Penguins, who were third in the division but had hopes of winning the Stanley Cup for the third time in four years.

New York advances to the second round of the Eastern Conference postseason to face the winner of the Washington-Carolina series. The Capitals lead two games to one heading to Game 4 on Thursday.

Lehner made 32 saves Tuesday, and Josh Bailey provided the dagger with an empty-net goal with 37.7 seconds left.

Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel scored his first goal of the series, off an assist that was Sidney Crosby’s first point of the series. However, the Penguins wound up getting outscored 14-6 in the four games.

Matt Murray stopped 23 New York shots.

The Islanders lost winger Cal Clutterbuck and defenseman Johnny Boychuk to undisclosed injuries in the second period.

The Penguins took a 1-0 lead on the first shift of the game. Crosby, working from behind the net, forced a turnover and sent a slick backhand pass to Guentzel. From the left hash marks, Guentzel beat Lehner to the top corner short side 35 seconds into the game.

It was the first point of the series for Guentzel, a 40-goal scorer, and for Crosby, who had a 100-point season.

Pittsburgh held a lead for just 3:17 through the first three games of the series, and this advantage didn’t last long, either — just 1:34.

A misplay by Penguins defenseman Kris Letang led to a New York two-on-one. Mathew Barzal got a pass through to Eberle, who lifted a shot past Murray’s left shoulder at 2:09 of the first for a 1-1 tie.

Nelson gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead at 18:06 of the first. He scored from right in front off a centering pass from Bailey.

—Field Level Media

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