Stefan Persson helped set up two goals that keyed...

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Stefan Persson helped set up two goals that keyed a four-goal first period Thursday night which carried the New York Islanders to a 7-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins and a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five first-round playoff series.

The Islanders can complete a series sweep on Saturday night at Pittsburgh.


Game 4, if necessary, would be played on Sunday at Pittsburgh.

The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, who took the first game 8-1, needed a spark from one of their old teammates to get going. Andre St. Laurent of the Penguins received a hooking penalty at 7:27 of the first period, and 30 seconds later, Mike Bossy put New York in front, taking a pass from Persson and blasting a short slapshot that beat goaltender Michel Dion.

For Bossy, whose 147 regular-season points represented the fourth-highest total in NHL history, it was his second goal in two nights. Bryan Trottier also assisted on the goal, extending his consecutive scoring streak in post-season play to 27 games -- an NHL record.

Later in the first period, the Islanders scored three times in a 2:28 span to take a 4-0 advantage. Wayne Merrick swatted one in from the slot, Butch Goring scored at 17:12 and Persson started a precision passing play that led to Brent Sutter's goal 41 seconds later.


Rick MacLeish beat New York goalie Billy Smith at 5:32 of the second period to cut the margin to 4-1, but Clark Gillies notched his third playoff goal less than two minutes later and John Tonelli made it 6-1 at 12:51.

Persson fed Islanders' rookie Greg Gilbert for his second NHL goal 40 seconds into the third period and Pittsburgh closed out the scoring on Pat Boutette's power play goal at 17:04.

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