The two Islanders responsible for shutting down Sidney Crosby

PITTSBURGH — It was just over four months ago when Adam Pelech was made a healthy scratch for the third time this season, as the Islanders defenseman was trying to find his game. Now, coach Barry Trotz has entrusted him with one of the Islanders’ biggest responsibilities at the biggest time of year — being a shutdown pair with partner Ryan Pulock, tasked with stopping Sidney Crosby.

The two have done just that, carrying most of the matchup load thus far as Crosby has been held without a point to go with a minus-4 rating while the Islanders have a chance to complete the sweep of their first-round series with a win in Game 4 here on Tuesday night.

“I know I met with Adam a few times, and I sat him out a couple times. There was a consistency level I knew was there, he just had to find it,” Trotz said after Monday’s practice. “I think it was the second or third meeting, I expressed myself on what I truly believe that he can become. He’s worked on a couple things from a consistency aspect. More mentally than physically.

“I think he’s a very caring player, and a lot of times those caring players have trouble with letting it go a little bit.”

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Over the final few months of the regular season, Pelech has been paired with Pulock almost exclusively and they have turned into the Islanders strongest and most consistent defensive unit. So it wasn’t a surprise when the two found out they were getting the Crosby matchup.

“They just mentioned it before the series started, but for us, I guess over the past few months, we have been playing against the other top lines,” Pelech said. “So it’s something we’ve become used to and it’s an exciting challenge for any ‘D’ pair to play against a player like him.”

It is also a source of pride that Crosby has been shut down, with the two-time Hart Trophy winner unable to find much time and space to make plays. Crosby’s left-winger Jake Guentzel, who scored 40 goals during the regular season and earned himself a five-year, $30 million contract that starts next season, has not been able to register a point either.

“I think you just approach it like any other game,” Pelech said. “But [Crosby] is also a great player, so you have to give him a lot of respect, you have to know where he is at all times and make sure you’re between him and the net. Especially when he’s out there, don’t cheat to offense, just play sound defensively, be reliable. I guess that’s what we’ve been trying to do this series.”

The two 24-year-old defensemen have been linked for a while, as Pelech was taken in the third round (No. 65 overall) in 2012 and Pulock was taken with the 15th pick in the 2013 draft. They played for AHL Bridgeport for the better part of four years, with former general manager Garth Snow constantly mentioning both as the future of the Islanders blue line.

Now they’re here, and now they’re the pair that’s helping to shut down Crosby.

“I think [Pelech] feels confidence that I trust his game, and that helps his confidence,” Trotz said. “He’s played extremely well and they’ve been a good pair.”

Rangers adding top prospects Shestyorkin, Kravtsov amid rebuild

They’re coming over.

The Rangers have reached agreements in principle with both Vitali Kravtsov and Igor Shestyorkin, The Post has confirmed, though neither Russian will be free to sign until the expiration of their KHL contracts that run through April 30.

Shestyorkin, the 23-year-old goaltender (24 in December), has a contract clause that would allow him to return to Russia if the Rangers were to assign him to the AHL Wolf Pack, The Post has learned. Management apparently is confident, however, that would not be the 2014 fourth-rounder’s intention if he needs time in the AHL to adapt to the North American game. The netminder’s entry-level contract will be for two years because of his age.

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Shestyorkin, selected 118th overall, will presumably compete with Alex Georgiev to become Henrik Lundqvist’s understudy. Georgiev is waiver-exempt and is eligible to be sent to the Wolf Pack if the need were to arise.

Shestyorkin went 24-4 with a 1.11 goals against and a .953 save percentage in the regular season before going 4-5, 1.95 and .904 during the playoffs in which his SKA club lost in the conference final.

Kravtsov, selected ninth overall in the first round by the Rangers last year, will be on a three-year deal. The dynamic winger, who recorded 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 50 games for Traktor, is also expected to compete for a roster spot.

Shestyorkin and Kravtsov are both expected to attend the Rangers’ prospect camp that will commence June 24 at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, Conn. The Blueshirts practice facility is undergoing renovations.

Gap-filling veteran trio is paying dividends for the Islanders

PITTSBURGH — It seemed as if Islanders team president Lou Lamoriello was filling out roster spots with warm bodies when he signed three veteran forwards over the summer — Leo Komarov (four years, $12 million), Valtteri Filppula (one year, $2.75 million) and Tom Kuhnhackl (one year, $700,000).

But all three have played important roles in the team taking a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven, first-round playoff series against the Penguins, with a chance to sweep coming with Game 4 here on Tuesday night.

“In the summer, we didn’t quite know what we had,” coach Barry Trotz said after Monday’s practice. “But you wanted to bring in people who have experience, people who you can rely on through their experiences, their character and all that.”

Komarov played all 82 games during the regular season, while Filppula played 72, dealing with a hyperextended left elbow near the end before returning for the finale in Washington. Kuhnhackl was more in and out of the lineup, getting a total of 36 games. But with his experience having won two Stanley Cups as a member of the Penguins in 2016 and 2017, Trotz kept him in the postseason lineup and he has been a solid contributor.

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“They are great complements and great role models for your younger guys,” Trotz said. “They’re good pros, they’re seasoned pros, and they’ve won.”

The Islanders have had nine previous 3-0 leads in playoff series and have won them all. The most recent was the 1983 Stanley Cup final, when they swept the Oilers.

Defenseman Scott Mayfield missed practice for “maintenance,” and Trotz didn’t sound as if there were any chance he could miss Game 4.
“He’s fine. That was my decision,” Trotz said. “He was going to come out and I just said, ‘Give you a day and you’ll be fine.’ ”

The Penguins took a day off from practice on Monday, with coach Mike Sullivan saying it was planned. He also said they have a history of responding well to a day off during the midst of games every other day, as it was for most of March.

“We have some history there to draw on,” Sullivan said, “but it’s based on when we got the schedule, we tried to plan out.”

It is time to start treating the Islanders for what they are

PITTSBURGH — Just a ho-hum Sunday afternoon, the Islanders strolling around the visiting locker room, having postgame snacks, chatting about the Masters. No celebration, no blaring music, no big grins — nothing that would indicate they are the verge of sweeping the Penguins.

This is the way these Islanders have done business all season under Lou Lamoriello, so there was not even a shadow of pomp and circumstance surrounding their 4-1 win in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series that put them up in the best-of-seven contest, 3-0. Maybe they won’t win Game 4 here Tuesday night, but the odds of them losing the series are now minuscule — small only because Pittsburgh looks like a defeated team. Or, more appropriately, the Islanders have sucked all the life out of Sidney Crosby & Co.

Now, it’s time to stop waiting for the other shoe to fall. Now, it’s time to stop treating the Islanders like a surprise and start treating them like what they are — a terrific team.

“We got 103 points in the standings,” said goalie Robin Lehner, who has been at the forefront of this franchise turnaround with his own remarkable personal turnaround. “It can’t be a surprise. This team was no fluke this year. Everyone looks and compares players and all that stuff. I look at our roster and see a lot of really good players. I see a really good organization and great coaching.”

The organizational turnaround has been far more dramatic than the breathtaking Game 1 win, or the buttoned-up Game 2 victory, turning back the clock inside the Coliseum. Now the Islanders might be done at that wonderful and antiquated building on Hempstead Turnpike, with home games for the second round and beyond set for Barclays Center.

Switching homes seemed like such a footnote early on, because there were few who gave the Islanders the edge against the Penguins, myself included. But the Islanders don’t care about what other people think. They’ve been living in this bubble, built by Lamoriello and coach Barry Trotz so that they only focus on what they can control.

What they have controlled in this series is just about everything. Most impressively, that has included their emotions. Josh Bailey scored the overtime winner in Game 1 after what could have been heartbreak from him hitting the post in the closing seconds of regulation. Throughout Game 2, they hit the Penguins from every angle and at every turn, but they never crossed the line of being undisciplined.

Then they hardly flinched when the Penguins scored first at home on Sunday, which was rather tepid compared to years past — an absolute library compared to the Coliseum. The Isles needed just 90 seconds to score twice and take a lead they wouldn’t surrender. Things happen, emotions run high, and the Islanders just go about their business.

“There is no expectation. So the prediction, looking ahead, we find that to be counterintuitive and counterproductive,” said alternate captain Cal Clutterbuck. “We’re just trying to take a day, a shift, a game at a time. That’s really it. There is no looking ahead.”

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That attitude is such a testament to the environment — the “culture,” to use the overused sports vocabulary — that has been established by Lamoriello. The idea that everyone has to have a neat haircut and be clean-shaven (during the regular season, at least) is not about the aesthetic, but about discipline. For a franchise that was run like a buddies club with a rich uncle occasionally pulling the purse strings for 12 years, there is now rampant professionalism.

Off the ice, that is handed down by Lamoriello. On the ice, that is dictated by Trotz, who is reinforcing to everyone around the league why he should be the one with his name on the Jack Adams trophy in June. Who could imagine that these Islanders, essentially the same personnel that was the worst defensive team in the league last season, would totally shut down Crosby in the first three games? The people of this venerable blue-collar town are going to start looking on milk cartons for their beloved No. 87.

But you think the Islanders are patting themselves on the back for that? At this point, the answer should be obvious. Just like it’s become obvious that they’re the better team in this series.

“I see a lot of heart,” Lehner said, “so it shouldn’t be a surprise.”

No, it’s not a surprise. Not anymore.

Barry Trotz knows just how meaningless a 2-0 lead can be

PITTSBURGH — It was a year ago that Barry Trotz was in this exact position, only the other side. So he knows first-hand how quickly things can change.

That is why the Islanders coach was trying to keep his club even-keeled as they headed to Western Pennsylvania for Game 3 of this first-round series with the Penguins on Sunday afternoon, having held serve with two dramatic victories at the Coliseum over the past week.

A 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series is exactly what the Blue Jackets held on Trotz and his Capitals in the first round last year. That just happened to be the beginning of Washington’s run to the Stanley Cup.

“Everyone is well aware of the stuff that happened,” Trotz said Saturday morning before flying out. “It’s just that we look at it as we have to get the next game. The series is far from over. We’re just worrying about trying to get another game. That’s [where] all our focus should have to be.

“Until you get the fourth one, the series is always going.”

Maybe the most reassuring fact for the Islanders is they have been an even-keeled team all season. They are hardly reveling in these two victories, as impressive as they were and as emotional as they were in front of the raucous Coliseum crowd.

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More than the results, the Islanders are proud of the way they have handled themselves in the big moment. They have seemingly agitated the Penguins, most notably the combustible Evgeni Malkin. And they have stifled one of the most gifted players of all time in Sidney Crosby, without a point through the first two games, while coach Mike Sullivan was seemingly caught up in trying to find him a good matchup rather than just letting him play.

“I just think it’s the way that we’re playing,” said center Casey Cizikas, who got much of the matchup load against Crosby thus far. “We’re playing hard, we’re playing physical, and we’re playing smart hockey. We’re getting back on the forecheck, our Ds have good gap. We’re playing Islander hockey right now, and that can be frustrating for teams. If we continue doing that, then we’re going to have more success than not.”

The tensions boiled over at the end of Game 2, when the Islanders had secured a 3-1 win and Malkin got into a cross-checking fit with Brock Nelson that brought all parties together for customary face-washes and jersey-pulling. Rest assured that animosity will not have subsided much by the time the clubs reconvene in front of what will definitely be a boisterous sell-out crowd in Pittsburgh, where the fans are accustomed to their team finding ways to win. Three Stanley Cups in the past decade will do that.

However, the Islanders relish playing on the road, their 24 victories away from home this season tied for third-most in the league. Having split their home games this season between the Coliseum and Barclays Center — where they would play home games in the second round and beyond — it was away from home where they often played their best hockey.

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“I think we’re actually a lot calmer on the road than we are at home,” Trotz said. “That’s what I found all year. We’re a good road team because of the fact we’re not trying to put on a show, we’re just doing our thing.”

It’s going to be a big challenge against the Penguins, who know winning one game would get them right back in the series. If they went back to Long Island for Game 5 on Thursday all square, it would be hard to think the Islanders wouldn’t be feeling a little anxiety.

But that is something they have avoided all season. The mentality under Trotz had been steadfast, even during the swoon of February and mid-March when they won as many games as they lost. So it seems like neither the tenuous hold of a 2-0 lead or the history of that situation Trotz carries with him intimately will alter their approach.

“I think the reason that we do what we do is predictability,” Trotz said. “We’ve been predictable. No sense changing everything right now.”

Robin Lehner making Islanders’ two-goalie system harder to stick to

There were a handful of postseason debuts on the Islanders roster for Game 1 Wednesday night at the Coliseum, but likely the most impressive one during that 4-3 overtime victory over the Penguins came from goalie Robin Lehner.

Having split the net with Thomas Greiss all season, Lehner was tapped by coach Barry Trotz for the series opener. Lehner had previously only had two relief appearances in the postseason, totaling 49 minutes for the Senators in 2013.

Nevertheless, he was terrific against the explosive Penguins, making 41 saves, including a couple gems in the second period when the Islanders’ defensive game lapsed.

“That was a big start for him as well, just like everybody else,” Trotz said after Thursday’s practice on Long Island. “His first start, you put that on the résumé — starting hopefully a playoff résumé.”

Trotz had said he wouldn’t hesitate to use both goalies in this series, and that might still happen. But it would be jaw-dropping if Lehner didn’t get the start in Game 2 on Friday night at the Coliseum.

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Trotz didn’t want to disclose any adjustments he was going to make for Game 2, but he surely doesn’t want to allow the Penguins to have that many scoring chances again.

“No, no,” he said, shaking his head. “We have to play our game. I thought we played our game in the first and third, and even in the OT. We didn’t play our game in the second. That’ll be the key — stay to your game. The team that can stay to your game the longest, and force that on the other team, has the better chance to win.”

Winger Anthony Beauvillier missed practice for what Trotz called “maintenance,” but his availability didn’t seem like an issue for Game 2. The 21-year-old had a steady performance in his postseason debut, including a screen on Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray when Nick Leddy scored a go-ahead goal in the third period.

“What I liked about him, he was on the puck,” Trotz said. “And even on the Leddy goal, he was in the dirty area. That goal might not go in if Beau’s not right in front of Murray there and taking his eyes away a little bit. I liked his game.”

Michael Dal Colle took Beauvillier’s spot in practice, on the left side of a line with Valtteri Filppula and Leo Komarov. Other than that, the lines and defensive pairs stayed the same.

Jordan Eberle could be playing his way off the Islanders

That might be the sound of a clanging cash register heard in the background for the start of Jordan Eberle’s postseason.

The Islanders forward — who is set to be an unrestricted free agent — scored his second goal in as many games, this one standing as the game-winner in a 3-1 victory over the Penguins in Game 2 of the first-round playoff series on Friday night at the Coliseum.

It has been a bit of a down year for Eberle statistically, but the one-time 30-goal scorer will turn 29 on May 15 and will hit the open market on July 1 if he is not re-signed by the Islanders. Rest assured, if he keeps scoring goals like the dandy little backhand he netted at 7:54 of the third period for a 2-1 lead, the suitors will be lining up.

“It’s not like I’m going on the ice thinking about my contract. I don’t think about it at all, to be honest,” Eberle said Friday morning. “You kind of just let things happen as they do. I think the biggest thing is when you’re a kid, you dream of playing in the playoffs, and that chance is here. The farther you go as a team, the better it is for the individual.”

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Since Eberle was reunited with Mathew Barzal on the top line on March 11, the production has been coming. He scored five goals in the final seven games of the regular season, and started this postseason with a goal 1:40 into Game 1. He has also added an assist in each game, while Barzal had two assists in Game 2 and now has three in two games.

“They’re probably rooming together in Pittsburgh,” coach Barry Trotz kidded. “They were really good.”

This could have been the final playoff game of this season at the Coliseum. If the Islanders win both games in Pittsburgh to move on to the second round, their home rink would be Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for as long as they continue in the postseason.

Either way, Trotz was rather happy with the boisterous crowd, which was still chanting as he held his postgame press conference about 40 minutes after the final horn sounded.

“They gave us a real boost,” Trotz said, “and thank you.”

Winger Anthony Beauvillier missed Thursday’s practice for “maintenance,” but did take the ice with the extras Friday morning. He was considered “a probable” by Trotz, but the 21-year-old was able to play and took his regular spot next to Valtteri Filppula and Leo Komarov.

Beauvillier scored the game-tying goal at 13:25 of the second period, swatting in a loose puck after he had started the play by making a great saucer pass to Barzal, whose redirection was stopped by goalie Matt Murray.

If Beauvillier had not been able to play, Michael Dal Colle likely would have stepped in. The 22-year-old practiced in that place on Thursday.

Islanders insist they’re not looking ahead as Penguins fade away

PITTSBURGH — Of course the Islanders aren’t looking ahead. But boy, how can they not a little bit when the second round is only one win away?

With a decisive 4-1 victory over the Penguins in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Sunday afternoon, the Islanders took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven contest and are eyeing Tuesday night’s Game 4 as a potential clincher. Only four teams in the history of the NHL have come back from this deficit, and the Islanders have never blown a lead this big.

The most recent time they held one was the sweep of the Oilers in the 1983 Stanley Cup final, but that was a long time ago. The franchise has won only one playoff series since 1993, and few people thought this was the club that would add a second.

But here they are, playing this tight defensive game under coach Barry Trotz and going about their business in such a drastically understated way as dictated by team president Lou Lamoriello. One more win over these frustrated and distraught Penguins, and they move on — not that they’re letting that cross their minds.

“We’re not thinking too into anything, we’re taking it one day at a time, one game at a time,” said Josh Bailey, who is playing the best hockey of his career at a good time. “We’ve come out on the winning end thus far, but it ain’t over yet. The last one is going to be the toughest to win. So we have to make sure we’re ready.”

The Islanders have been nothing but ready. The system that Trotz is running has helped to utterly shut down Sidney Crosby (no points, minus-6 in the series) and the rest of the Penguins have had no answer. When Pittsburgh has created chances, goalie Robin Lehner has been there to make the timely saves, collecting 25 of them Sunday in another steady performance.

“I’m just going in with a mindset of trying to play my game, trying to see pucks, trying to be as loose and in control as possible,” Lehner said. “I feel good right now, but it’s a good team effort.”

That is the concept that has made this Islanders season so successful. They lack the high-end talent seen on the Penguins bench, but they play together with such cohesion the result is greater than the sum of their parts.

“It starts at training camp, and trying to understand why we do things, why they’re important, and how much they mean to the guy sitting next to you in the room,” Trotz said. “You become kind of a family over the course of a year.”

Maybe the biggest hurdle of this series was in Game 1, which went to overtime before Bailey won it with a dramatic goal that almost brought the roof down on the crumbling Coliseum. They then played a tight Game 2, and an even tighter Game 3.

They never blinked when Garrett Wilson got the game-opening goal for the Penguins at 12:54 of the first period, trying to urge the 18,610 in attendance to show some emotion after a rather quiet atmosphere for the noon start. The Islanders hardly gave them any time to feel good about their team, tying it just 28 seconds later when Jordan Eberle got his third in as many games with a sharp-angle shot that banked in off out-of-position goalie Matt Murray.

That hurt the Penguins, and then Brock Nelson made it worse when he buried a shot off a two-on-one rush, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead in a matter of 90 seconds.

Then the Isles shut it down, Leo Komarov eventually banging in a loose puck at 10:27 of the third and Anders Lee ending the festivities into the empty net with just 1:28 left in regulation.

Now the sweep beckons, even if the Islanders are looking at it like that.

“We know that it’s not over,” Bailey said, “so there’s nothing to be celebrating at this point.”

Celebrity cosmetic surgeon Dr Bumbum vanishes after patient dies in Brazil

A Brazilian plastic surgeon known as "Dr Bumbum" is on the run after a patient died hours after he performed a bottom-enhancement procedure on her at an apartment in Rio de Janeiro.

Dr Denis Furtado, 45, had risen to the status of social media celebrity in recent years, with 650,000 followers on Instagram where he routinely posted before-and-after photos of bottom enhancement procedures he had performed.

But police are now seeking information on Dr Furtado’s whereabouts after Lilian Quezia Calixto, a patient who travelled more than 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) from Cuiaba for the appointment, died on Sunday July 15.

The 45-year-old surgeon is wanted on charges of qualified homicide, after performing a cosmetic procedure on Calixto in an apartment in the upmarket Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood in Rio on Saturday, according to Brazilian media.

Investigators believe that Dr Furtado used excessive levels of a controversial acrylic filler, permitted by the National Agency of Sanitary Surveillance but advised for use in small amounts.

Brazilian media reports that Dr Furtado took Calixto to the Hospital Barra D’Or when she began to experience an elevated heartbeat and hypertensions following the procedure.

She died in hospital after suffering four heart attacks. Authorities are offering a reward of 1,000 Brazilian reais (£200) for information on Dr Furtado’s location.

Dr Furtado was not a specialised plastic surgeon, according to Brazilian Plastic Surgery Society (SBPC) president Dr Niveo Steffen.

“Plastic surgery is much esteemed in Brazil, but social media provides a lot of opportunities for unethical people to sell unachievable dreams,” he told The Telegraph by phone.

Dr Furtado’s mother, Maria de Fátima Barros, has also fled. Also formerly a doctor, Fátima’s medical license had been revoked in 2015.

She reportedly worked with Dr Furtado in an administrative capacity.

Dr Furtado’s girlfriend and reported assistant Renata Fernandes, also charged with qualified homicide, was arrested on Sunday and later transferred to Benfica prison.

The family maid, Rosilane Pereira da Silva, has also been indicted in the investigation. Brazil has the second highest number of plastic surgeries in the world, second to the United States.

“Brazilian women are among those who invest most time, money, worry in sculpting their own bodies,” said Mirian Goldenberg, an anthropologist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. 

“This case shows a reality that happens daily in Brazil, which is people having these procedures without the necessary information. People want magic solutions that don’t exist,” she said.

Donald Trump claims victory in Nato spending row amid reports he threatened to pull US out of alliance

Donald Trump has said that the United States’ commitment to Nato "remains very strong", after he claimed member countries agreed to his demands to increase funding for defence.

Mr Trump refused to deny that he had threatened to pull the US out of the organisation, and said the atmosphere in the meeting was "a little tough for a little while," but cordial after the spending commitments went up "like a rocket ship".

The US president has railed repeatedly about Nato members failing to meet the agreed spending commitment of two per cent of GDP on defence. On Thursday morning he claimed victory, saying that nations had finally agreed to up their expenditure.

"Everyone in the room thanked me," he said. "There is a great collegial atmosphere in that room, that I don’t think they’ve had for many years."

Asked directly whether he had threatened to withdraw, he replied: "I told people I’d be very unhappy if they didn’t up their commitment. Yesterday I let them know I was extremely unhappy."

Mr Trump’s claims of victory were tempered by Emmanuel Macron, the French president, who denied that Nato allies agreed to boost defence spending, referring to an existing communique setting out a goal of all members reaching two per cent of GDP spending by 2024.

Mr Macron also poured cold water on the suggestion Mr Trump had threatened to pull out of Nato if he didn’t get the commitments he wanted. "President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO," Mr Macron told reporters.

Mr Trump claimed his emphatic victory in an extensive and freewheeling press conference that followed what appeared to be a fraught morning of negotiations.

He said that Jens Stolenberg, the Nato secretary-general, credited him for changing the dynamic in the organisation, and increasing funding.

Nato defence expenditure and major annual exercises involving US troops

"Nato is much stronger than it was two days ago," Mr Trump declared.

"We had a fantastic meeting at the end. Germany has increased very substantially what it is doing. I brought it up, no one brought it up but me.

"And frankly maybe everyone is going to have a good relationship with Russia."

Responding to questions about his meeting with Vladimir Putin, scheduled for Monday in Helsinki, Mr Trump said: "He’s a competitor. He’s representing Russia. I’m representing America. It’s not a question of a friend or enemy."

He said he "hoped to be able to get along" with the Russian leader.

Reports of Mr Trump’s threats to Nato members surfaced on Friday morning  as it emerged Nato leaders, gathered in Brussels, held an unplanned emergency meeting.

Mr Trump repeated demands on the second day of the summit for countries to meet a spending target of two percent of GDP now, instead of by 2024, and to eventually double spending to four per cent.

Mr Trump’s demands prompted leaders to huddle in a special session excluding other summit participants, sources told Reuters.

At one point, in a break with diplomatic protocol, a source said Mr Trump addressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel by her first name and told her: "Angela, you need to do something about this."

Invited leaders from non-Nato countries Afghanistan and Georgia were asked to leave along with most Nato leaders’ retinues of officials, as the heads of state and government of the Western alliance sought to deal with the man whose nation commands much of the budget and forces for Europe’s defence.

Nato | Did Trump threaten to pull out?

Mr Trump had opened the first day of talks in Brussels on Wednesday with a public diatribe against Germany, the second biggest state in the Western defence alliance, before the mood appeared to have calmed as the summit went into its second day, focusing on operations beyond Europe.

But, several sources said, Mr Trump instead reopened in strong terms his demand that other countries greatly speed up their progress toward a Nato target of spending at least two percent of their GDP on defence, which now has a deadline of 2024 with get-out terms available that can stretch it to 2030.

"The language was much tougher today," one source told Reuters. "His harshest words were directed at Germany, including by calling her Angela –‘You, Angela.’"

As well as Ms Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were also singled out by Mr Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when US taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6 per cent of their national income, foot much of Nato’s bills.

Breaking from a carefully scripted session that was to focus on Ukraine and Georgia, one source said Mr Trump "forcibly restated his position on wanting Nato members to reach 2 percent spending target to a short a deadline".

Donald Trump's UK visit | Read more

Mr Trump singled out Mrs Merkel a day after saying Berlin had become a "captive of Russia" because of a gas pipeline deal and should be paying more for defence.

Mr Stoltenberg told a news conference following the summit: "We had a very frank and open discussion… That discussion has made NATO stronger. It has created a new sense of urgency.

"The fact that we had this open discussion has also clearly stated that we will redouble our efforts and it also shows that a clear message from President Trump is having an impact."

On Thursday afternoon Mr Trump landed in the UK, and brushed off the threat of protests.

"I think it’s fine," he said. "I think they like me a lot in the UK. I think they agree with me on immigration."

He said that immigration was "taking over Europe".

Asked whether he supported a hard Brexit, he laughed and said he thought the reporter asked if he was "heartbroken".

The US president appeared not to be aware of the term "hard Brexit", and said it was a decision for the British people, who had voted for Brexit.

"You use a term hard Brexit – I assume that’s what you mean," he said.

"I just want the people to be happy. They are great people. I assume there will be protests – there are always protests."

The US president is due to meet Mr Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday. 

Mr Trump told reporters after the Nato summit that he will raise election meddling and arms control when he meets the Russian president.

Mr Trump also said  he was "not happy about Crimea", although he once again failed to rule out recognising Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian region.

The US president described the up-coming  summit with Mr Putin as a "loose meeting" and said "we’ll see where it leads," adding: "I think meeting with people is great."