Kunitz’s 2nd PP goal gives Pens OT win over Isles

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Okposo, who had a game-turning fight and game-winning goal in Game 2, started this comeback with a short-handed goal that made it 4-3 at 5:31 of the third. John Tavares tied it with 9:12 remaining in regulation with his first NHL postseason goal in his third game.

“I’m not worried about our hockey team,” Capuano said. “We’ve bounced back all year. I know the resiliency of these guys and the way they’ve battled.”

That was good enough to clinch eighth place in the East, but the Islanders will likely have to find something extra in a hurry to make this series a long one.

After Strait took down Crosby in overtime, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma used his timeout to rest his power-play unit, and it paid off. Crosby fed Kunitz in the slot for a hard shot that beat goalie Evgeni Nabokov to win it.

Evgeni Malkin added two assists, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves for Pittsburgh.

Matt Moulson and Casey Cizikas scored 3:58 apart in the first period for the Islanders.

Tavares got the party restarted with his late tying goal. Tavares, who had his first assist in Game 2, is rounding into form after being held without a shot in the series opener.

“I thought the D was sitting a little deep, so I didn’t want to challenge him wide,” Tavares said. “I just tried to give a little hesitation, use him as a screen a bit. I was just happy I was able to get a really good shot off. I got a lot on it.”

Tavares was serenaded with chants of “M-V-P” when he scored and after the goal was announced to the crowd.

The Penguins started their comeback and cut the deficit in half when Iginla deflected in Kris Letang’s hard one-timer, off a pass from Crosby, past Nabokov on Pittsburgh’s only shot of the two-man advantage. The Penguins needed only one more drive to get even.

Malkin sent a pass from blue line to blue line to Kunitz, who streaked in alone on Nabokov and snapped a shot inside the right post at 13:37.

“With the 5-on-3 they got back in the game,” Nabokov said. “It seems like every time we go down two men we don’t win hockey games. We have to find a way to stay out of the box as much as possible.

“I thought other than that we played really well.”

The derisive chants directed on Fleury along with the deafening cheers by the home crowd were soon replaced with nervous words of encouragement for the Islanders.

It didn’t help.

Crosby showed off his exceptional passing skills again after he surged into the right circle. Crouched down, putting his weight toward his backhand side, Crosby deftly eluded a defenseman and slid the puck in front to the hard-charging Dupuis, who crashed into Tavares — covering late — and shoved the puck in to give the Penguins a 3-2 edge.

“It’s great to see him back, making all those plays,” Kunitz said of Crosby.

After being badly outshot early, the Penguins closed the gap to 13-8 in the period.

Clearly buoyed by their first-period comeback, the Penguins raced up ice time after time in waves. It finally paid off with 2:50 left in the second, less than four minutes after Capuano used his lone timeout.

Malkin flung a pass from the middle of the right wing boards in the New York end back to Murray, who took a hard drive from above the left circle that sailed past Nabokov to make it 4-2.

NOTES: The Penguins won both regular-season games at Nassau Coliseum 4-2. … Pittsburgh tied for the NHL lead with 18 road wins this season. … Pittsburgh LW James Neal (ankle) missed his second straight game. … Cizikas scored six goals in the regular season. … The Islanders haven’t won a home playoff game since 2002.

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