UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Center Sidney Crosby's sensational goal with 1:16 left in overtime Tuesday night lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum.
Crosby, who also scored the tying goal in the third period, stole the puck at center ice and raced toward Islanders goaltender Anders Nilsson. Left winger Thomas Vanek was in pursuit of Crosby, who was surrounded by defensemen Calvin De Haan and Travis Hamonic, both of whom were trying to jab the puck loose.
Instead, Crosby maintained control and managed to fire the puck past Nilsson to give the Penguins (19-9-1) their fourth straight win and vault them into first place overall in the Eastern Conference ahead of the idle Boston Bruins.
Left winger James Neal scored in the second period for the Penguins while goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves.
The Islanders (8-15-5) lost their seventh in a row (0-5-2) after blowing a two-goal lead for the fourth time this season.
Right winger Kyle Okposo scored a pair of first-period goals for the Islanders while Nilsson had 31 saves.
The Islanders took the lead 9:53 into the game, when Okposo, standing behind the net, poked home the puck as Islanders center John Tavares and a trio of Penguins battled for the puck in the goalmouth. The goal was upheld on review.
The lead was just the second for the Islanders since the start of their losing streak. But while the previous lead lasted just 62 seconds on Saturday night, the Islanders needed only 3:02 to double the lead when Okposo's slap shot from just beyond the right faceoff circle was slowed by Fleury but trickled between his legs.
The Islanders maintained the lead by killing off a 5-on-3 power play to end the first and begin the second.
Nilsson kept the shutout alive with a series of impressive saves in the second. He dove and pushed away with his glove a shot by Crosby and later stopped left winger Pascal Dupuis when he tried wrapping the puck around the left side of the net and made a magnificent glove save of a laser shot by Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.
The Penguins finally halved the lead with a power play goal in the final minute of the second, when center Evgeni Malkin -- the reigning two-time NHL no. 1 star of the week -- skated behind the Islanders net and dished a no-look pass to Neal, who put it past Nilsson with 16 seconds left.
Pittsburgh continued peppering Nilsson in the third, when the Penguins had the first five shots on goal before Islanders center Frans Nielsen got a penalty shot after he was hooked from behind by Letang on a breakaway. Nielsen missed -- the first time he's been unsuccessful in three career penalty shots -- and the Penguins, who were on the power play, tied the game 1:07 later on a Crosby slap shot from the right faceoff circle.
The Penguins nearly took the lead on a flurry of shots by Letang, Crosby and Neal with a little under seven minutes to play. Once play was whistled dead, every player on the ice except Fleury and Nilsson engaged in a pushing and shoving match. Malkin and Islanders right winger Cal Clutterbuck were each penalized for roughing.
The Islanders ended regulation on the power play when Malkin was whistled for shoving Tavares in the neutral zone, but right winger Colin McDonald missed just wide of the net with less than 45 seconds left.
NOTES: Doug Weight, the Islanders' assistant coach and assistant to general manager Garth Snow, and Penguins player development coach Bill Guerin were each inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. Weight and Guerin were teammates on the U.S. Olympic team in 1998, 2002 and 2006 and also played together with Edmonton, St. Louis and the Islanders. ... The Islanders scratched LW Eric Boulton, D Radek Martinek and C Brock Nelson. The Penguins scratched D Robert Bortuzzo and C Jayson Megna. All were healthy scratches. ... Injured Islanders D Brian Strait and G Evgeni Nabokov returned to practice Monday for the first time since they were hurt. Strait has been out since Oct. 22 with a back injury while Nabokov suffered a strained groin Nov. 16. ... G Anders Nilsson made consecutive starts for the Islanders for the first time in his career. ... In addition to being named the NHL's No. 1 star last week, Penguins C Evgeni Malkin was also selected the league's No. 2 star of the month in November. ... RW Chuck Kobasew practiced with the Penguins on Monday for the first time since he suffered an upper-body injury Oct. 28.o the penalty box for slashing with 23 seconds left.