UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- So many times, the Penguins had faced this situation.
Approaching the New York Islanders blue line or being just inside of it, carrying the puck, looking to make something happen.
Evgeni Malkin was no different. The Penguins center had been thwarted earlier in Saturday's game more than once by New York's penchant for closing in, blocking off passing and shooting lanes, deflecting pucks out of harm's way.
This time was different. The Penguins were desperate, but Malkin showed a lot of patience to set up defenseman Paul Martin for the tying goal in the third period of a game they won, 4-3, in overtime to bounce the Islanders from the playoffs and advance to a second-round matchup against Ottawa.
"That's why he's one of the best in the league," Martin said of Malkin. "He's able to hold onto that puck and get guys coming after him.
"And, even better, he looks like he's got his head down, but he's able to find a way [to create something], find guys who are open."
The Penguins had been outplayed most of the game, but trailed just 3-2 as the third period was starting to cast shadows.
Malkin got the puck in the neutral zone and headed toward the right point. His teammates, though, were in a line change, and Malkin found himself looking at four Islanders.
Earlier in the game, in a couple of similar but less lopsided situations, Malkin barged ahead, had a shot deflected or tried to force a pass to a teammate.
This time, with the four Islanders giving him a little space, Malkin drove down the right side and behind the net. By the time he swung around to the other side, Martin was set up at the left point. Pass. Shot. Tie game.
Well, there was a little blip -- the puck clipped the stick of Islanders center Frans Nielsen and flew by goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.
A big reason for that goal, which came with 5:16 left in regulation, was Malkin being patient.
"He was," Martin said. "I think that was one of the keys. We wanted to spend a little time in our [offensive] zone, and he's a staple of that when he gets control of the puck, uses his body to create good positioning and lug it around, and other guys get open for him.
"If he's going like that, that's big for us."
Malkin, who also got the secondary assist on Brooks Orpik's overtime goal, did not speak with reporters after the game.
He entered the game leading the Penguins and second in the NHL in playoff scoring with nine points, but they seemed to be a quiet nine points.
He ended the series with 11 points in the six games.
In Game 6, he had just one shot, had one blocked and missed the net on four attempts, largely due to the Islanders' keen positioning. The Penguins reacted by holding onto the puck or taking shots that were easily deflected away.
The Penguins were outshot and outplayed for much of the game, but if Malkin was frustrated, he got past that feeling on the third-period play.
It was the third time the Penguins came back from a one-goal deficit in the game.
A lot of his teammates -- including center Sidney Crosby and James Neal -- didn't see Malkin's play or Martin's goal because they were involved in the line change.
"I was coming onto the ice," Crosby said. "I didn't even see [Martin] open. I was watching to see if [Malkin] was going to throw it at the net or what. He did a great job of showing patience there to hold onto it.
"That's our game -- when we're down there [in that end], we're able to create things. [Malkin], when he has the puck, he's always dangerous."
Malkin was playing his second game after being reunited with Chris Kunitz and Neal. Neal left Game 1 and missed Games 2 and 3 because of what was believed to be an ankle injury.
For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1721 or Twitter @pgshelly