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Penguins squeeze by Islanders, push for second place in East

Casey DeSmith stops 19 shots off the bench, as Anthony Angello and Jared McCann net first-period goals to lift the Penguins to a 2-1 win over the Islanders on Monday night.

The injuries keep stacking up for the Penguins, but they’re hanging in there, and jostling with the likes of the Islanders for seeding in the East Division. On Monday, the Penguins held off the Islanders to win. After this decision, the two teams are essentially tied for second with 48 points in 56 games played.

They also aren’t far behind the Washington Capitals (50 points), although Washington holds two games in hand (54 GP).

Penguins beat Islanders in a defensive struggle

After the first period, Tristan Jarry made way for Casey DeSmith. It was confusing, and got a little more confusing as the game went along. Credit DeSmith for getting in the Penguins’ net and looking sharp against the Islanders.

Jarry only needed to make five saves during that opening period, and the Penguins required just the two goals they scored in the opening frame.

Anthony Angello opened the scoring for the Penguins with a power-play goal, while Jared McCann scored the eventual game-winner. With each goal, John Marino grabbed the primary assists, while Mike Matheson collected secondary helpers.

There wasn’t much room to move, and the Islanders ultimately couldn’t come back. Matt Martin’s power-play goal gave them a chance, but it wasn’t enough.

You could argue that the Penguins beat the Islanders at their own game. Then again, this has been Pittsburgh’s game lately, too.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.