Rookie defenseman Olli Maatta scored the go-ahead goal early in the second period and Evgeni Malkin added an insurance score in the third as the Penguins rallied from an early deficit and held on for a wild 6-4 win over the Islanders on Thursday night.
The Islanders had a 5-on-3 power play for 50 seconds late in the third, but couldn’t score against backup Jeff Zatkoff, who made 30 saves for the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins (36-13-2). Pittsburgh improved to 17-5 against Metropolitan Division opponents.
Zatkoff (8-2-1) stopped Frans Nielsen point-blank during the power-play and denied John Tavares, second in the league in scoring to Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, with a shoulder save in the closing seconds.
Maatta scored his fifth of the season at 5:35 of the middle period to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead when the 19-year-old Finnish defenseman skated through the Islanders defense before sliding a backhand past Kevin Poulin.
Letang scored at 17:44 after the Penguins’ league-best power-play unit kept the puck in the Islanders zone for nearly an entire man advantage. After hitting the post, Letang blasted the puck past Poulin for this 10th goal of the season to give Pittsburgh a two-goal cushion.
Okposo received credit for a goal at 10:55 of the third to make it 5-4 after the puck crossed the goal line in a scrum in front of Zatkoff. The play was reviewed and the goal awarded, the 21st for Okposo.
Sutter scored an empty-net goal for the Penguins at 19:56 to conclude the scoring.