Islanders Shut Out the Penguins, Split Weekend Series
In the last game of a four-game homestand at The Barn, the Islanders used the power play and Ilya Sorokin to propel themselves to a 2-0 win. Sorokin, who has been seeing limited play time, won his second NHL game and recorded his second NHL shutout. His firsts in each category came in a 3-0 win against the Sabres on February 16th. It was his last start.
Late Drama in the First Period for the Islanders
The game started quietly for the most part, with the Islanders playing great defense. They held the Pittsburgh offense to a simmer, only allowing two shots–the first coming with four minutes left. Things picked up within the final two minutes, however, when Marcus Pettersson was called for hooking. The Isles, who went 1-1 last night on the power play, were able to capitalize on this opportunity. Oilver Wahlstrom scored his 3rd goal of the season, a one-timer to the top right corner. Nick Leddy, playing in the middle, sent a great pass to his left and helped Wahlstrom extend his three-game point streak to four. Last night, he assisted Brock Nelson in the first goal of the game.
Another Power Play Goal in the Second
Having had just two shots on goal the whole first period, the Penguins immediately got to work by shooting the same amount within the first two minutes. However, the Islanders got pesky again and cooled things down. On the offensive side, they were granted an early power play but were unable to score. Despite this, they stayed on the attack for most of the period and kept the pressure. Finally, with six minutes left, Brock Nelson was tripped and the power play was on again. Because of all the built-up pressure, it was no surprise when Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the second goal and his ninth of the season–tying Anders Lee for the team lead. He was assisted by none other than Josh Bailey, who was awarded the secondary assist on the first goal. In fact, it was the same Leddy-Wahlstrom-Bailey line that came through on the first goal.
Locking it Down in the Third
After giving up late goals in last night’s OT loss against the Pens, the Isles didn’t want to repeat that tonight. While they weren’t able to add to their lead, they were able to keep the Pens scoreless. Sorokin saved ten shots this period, including four on an early power play for Pittsburgh. From there, it was mostly smooth sailing as Sorokin became the first Islanders goalie to shut out the Penguins since Kelly Hrudey did it in 1986 (!). It was another strong performance from Sorokin who is sure to get more playing time with his recent form and a busy March schedule.
What’s Next for the Islanders
The Isles will start March off with a game against the Devils on Tuesday in New Jersey. From there, they have a five-game homestand at The Barn with the first three of those all coming against the Sabres. As I said before, March is shaping up to be a busy month; the Isles won’t have two consecutive days off until March 30th and 31st. There will be a lot of action, but the Isles are sure to be inspired by their playoff push. They are tied for second in the division with the Bruins and sit only two points behind the Capitals. It’s the make-or-break part of the schedule now–let’s see if those pesky Islanders can withstand the storm.