NHL playoffs: Bryan Rust’s late penalty almost cost Penguins; Golden Knights finally score

Forward Bryan Rust did plenty to help the Pittsburgh Penguins even their series against the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

He scored the opening goal in the first period after a New York turnover, took four shots, drew a penalty, delivered two hits and played more than 19 minutes. 

But with the Penguins hanging onto a one-goal lead late in the third period, he wrapped his glove around an airborne puck and threw it out of the defensive zone. That led to a two-minute penalty for closing his hand on the puck with 1:28 left in the game.

"I was just so worried about getting the puck over the blue line, getting it out of the zone, that I made kind of a mental error there," Rust said.

😬 Bryan Rust 😬#ItsOnpic.twitter.com/l7wkwvdKSw

The Penguins killed off the penalty, limiting the Islanders to one shot for a 2-1 victory that tied the series 1-1.

"They were working hard for me and for the team," Rust said. "You saw how much the crowd got into it. I think our guys fed off that emotion and they did an unbelievable job. I've got to thank those guys."

Penguins right wing Bryan Rust is stopped by Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov during the second period of Game 2. (Photo: Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports)

Golden Knights find back of net

The Golden Knights scored for the first time in the series during the second period of Game 2, and the timing was perfect because Jonathan Marchessault's goal occurred 18 seconds after Matt Dumba had put the Wild ahead 1-0.

Jonathan Marchessault scores the #VegasBorn’s first goal of the series! Tied at 1 in Period 2 of Game 2 pic.twitter.com/YsIrL6xpuR

"The response was key," coach Peter DeBoer said. "Getting a goal was critical. We were going on, at that point, four-plus periods without one. I just sensed we were a different group after that goal."

Alex Tuch added two goals for a series-tying 3-1 win. Games 3 and 4 are in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the Wild have a 6-0-2 all-time record against Vegas.

“You’re going to see a totally different team at home,” Dumba said. “We’re a different beast.”

Goalie changes

The Islanders and Florida Panthers changed their goaltending from Game 1 and both teams lost.

The Islanders went to Semyon Varlamov, their No. 1 goalie who was unavailable in Game 1 after getting hurt in the season finale. The Panthers gave Chris Driedger his first career professional playoff start after Sergei Bobrovsky had lost Game 1.

"A little bit nerves for sure," said Driedger, who was playing on his 27th birthday. "Felt it a bit in the first, but after that, I settled in and tried to enjoy it."

Rust handcuffs Varlamov to open the scoring for Pens in Game 2. 🚨

(🎥: @Sportsnet)pic.twitter.com/cjSXsEAP27

Both gave up two first-period goals — with Varlamov fooled by Rust's shot — but that was it. Varlamov made 43 saves and Driedger made 26 in the 3-1 Tampa Bay win that gave the Lightning a 2-0 series lead.

"It would have been nice to come up with a win, but we’ll have to go and do that in Tampa," Driedger said.

Tonight’s playoff games

Washington at Boston, 6:30, NBCSN. Series tied 1-1

Nashville at Carolina, 8, CNBC. Hurricanes lead 1-0

Winnipeg at Edmonton, 9, NBCSN. Game 1 of series

St. Louis at Colorado, 10:30, CNBC. Avalanche lead 1-0

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