Volek, Islanders Put Penguins on Ice

From Associated Press

David Volek’s first playoff point in more than three years was helpful, but his second is what shocked the hockey world as it gave the New York Islanders a 4-3 victory Friday night over the two-time Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the Patrick Division finals.

It came after the Penguins had rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit to send the game into overtime. Volek’s goal came at 5:16 of overtime, sending the Islanders into a Wales Conference final series against the Montreal Canadiens beginning Sunday.

The Islanders have won their last eight overtime playoff games, including four this season, and are 29-7 lifetime.


The Penguins had led the series, 3-2. They lost for the first time in 10 playoff series dating to 1989. Pittsburgh is 0-7 lifetime in decisive playoff games against the Islanders.

“When someone tells you that you can’t do something and you do it, that makes it all the better, and it doesn’t get much better than this,” Islander goaltender Glenn Healy said.

The Penguins trailed, 3-1, and needed a miracle in regulation to tie it. They got it on goals by Ron Francis and Rick Tocchet in the final 3:47, Tocchet tying it on a tip-in with 60 seconds to play.

“In all honesty, we felt a little anger and a little disappointment and a little sorry for ourselves (after that),” the Islanders’ Ray Ferraro said. “I think after a few minutes, we realized they weren’t going to feel sorry for us. And we knew we were still one shot away, and we may never get a chance to be this close again.”

Said the Penguins’ Larry Murphy: “You can only pull so many rabbits out of a hat. We played a team that knew it could beat us, and we couldn’t get it done.”

It didn’t help the Penguins that left wing Kevin Stevens, their leading scorer, broke his nose and suffered a concussion during a collision with the Islanders’ Rich Pilon only 4:50 into the game. Stevens had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher and will undergo surgery today to repair his nose and a sinus cavity.


Pittsburgh was forcing the action when Ray Ferraro and Volek got loose on a two-on-one break. With defenseman Kjell Samuelsson trapped between the two, Volek took Ferraro’s pass and beat goaltender Tom Barrasso with a slap shot from the right faceoff circle.

The Penguins became the NHL’s third regular-season champion in as many seasons to lose early in the playoffs. Of the NHL’s top five teams this season, only Montreal remains.

Chicago, Boston and Vancouver were the other division champions to lose before Pittsburgh in a record-extending 21st overtime game of the playoffs.

Volek had played in only four of the Islanders’ first 12 playoff games, yet emerged as the hero of a team that will play in its first conference finals since 1984.

“It was tough to watch in the press box, but I was playing with the team in my mind,” Volek said. “As bad as this has been for me, I can’t believe this has happened. I still can’t believe it.”