Apr 4, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (21) celebrates with Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals in the third period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Gopher scores game-winning goal in NHL playoffs


St. Paul native and former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Kyle Okposo scored the game-winning goal for his New York Islanders Friday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second game of the NHL Playoffs.

Okposo, who played two seasons for the Gophers from 2006-08, scored a goal 12:23 into the final period to break a three-all tie which would become the final goal of the game as the Islanders tied the Penguins in the best-of-seven series with the 4-3 victory.

His shot was wide of the net and hit the wall but bounced back near the Penguin’s goalie who accidentally swiped it back into the net. Nevertheless, Okposo is credited with the goal.

A seventh-overall pick by the Islanders in 2006, Okposo has played in more than 300 games for the Islanders in six seasons en route to recording more than 70 goals and 100 assists.

Okposo’s game-winning goal took the hype out of Sidney Crosby’s return to the ice after suffering a broken jaw. The Penguin’s Crosby had two goals in the loss.

The eighth-seed in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders were shutout by the top-seeded Penguins in the first game, 5-0. The win on the road Friday night was big for Okposo’s Islanders as the series heads to New York for games three and four.

Okposo is one of a handful of Gophers in the NHL playoffs which include Nick Leddy of the Chicago Blackhawks and Keith Ballard of the Vancouver Canucks.

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