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The New York Islanders picked up their second win in a row last night, taking down the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 at home.
The Islanders managed to open the scoring early, with Anders Lee just taking the puck to the net and stuffing it past Carter Hart, just two minutes into the game. Despite giving up a partial breakaway to Travis Konecny soon after, New York went on to have a good first half of the frame after that, and did have an opportunity on the power play just past the midway mark of the frame, but couldn’t get much going. The Islanders did start getting outchanced a bit near the end of the frame, but didn’t give up any really dangerous opportunities, and remained up 1-0 through 20 minutes.
New York ended up having to kill an early penalty in the second frame, before midway through the frame, the Islanders had a power play of their own, but the Flyers had the best chance of the man advantage when Sean Walker hit a post on a shorthanded rush. Shortly after though, Brock Nelson got to the front of the net to tip-in a point shot from Adam Pelech, extending New York’s lead.
However, the Flyers came right back only a minute later, with Ilya Sorokin making a huge save on an initial chance for Cam York, before York buried the rebound to cut the lead in half before the second intermission.
Early in the third period though, Nelson reinstated the two-goal lead with his second goal of the game, burying a great backdoor pass from Pierre Engvall.
Philadelphia really pressed after that, first with Sorokin being tasked with making a huge 2-on-1 save about two minutes later. The Flyers then started to outshoot New York pretty badly though, and with four minutes to go, Bobby Brink found Joel Farabee with a good backdoor feed for a tap-in, cutting the lead to one.
However, despite a lot of time spent in their end in the final couple minutes, the Islanders held on from there for the 3-2 win.
It’s a big win for New York, getting back above .500. It’s these kinds of games – facing a divisional opponent at home – that they need to win. In yet another game where they held a lead, this time, they finally managed to protect it.
That said, whether it’s a win that inspires a lot of confidence in the Islanders is a different story. They were allowing far more high-danger chances than you’d like to see, being outshot 36-25, and counting on Ilya Sorokin for a lot of key saves. In previous years, it was maybe less of a big deal to see that kind of a shot margin, because the quality of chances weren’t necessarily overly high despite that. This wasn’t really the case though, and they were bombarded through a lot of the third period.
The good news: this was maybe the best the third line performed together, with Lee-Pageau-Wahlstrom outshooting opponents 8-1 at 5-on-5, according to NaturalStatTrick.com. With two goals in his last three games, Anders Lee is at least contributing a bit more.
Brock Nelson now also has twice as many goals as anyone else on the team, reaching 10 goals in 18 games. While he can still be a little streaky at times, the center has been very good over the last four or five games.
On the other hand, the top line really struggled last night, being outshot 10-2.
For as many chances as New York gave up though, I think that’s also a big performance for Ilya Sorokin. It marks the first time in seven games he’s allowed less than three goals, with Sorokin having allowed four goals in five of those previous six games. While you can’t blame Sorokin for any of the Islanders’ struggles, he hasn’t necessarily been stealing games for the team like we know he’s able to.
The win also marked Cal Clutterbuck’s 1000th NHL game. While the fourth line may not necessarily be as impactful as they were at one point, there’s no denying the value that Clutterbuck and the line as a whole has brought to the team over the years.
With the win, the Islanders improve to 7-6-5, entering a key back-to-back set where they’ll face the Ottawa Senators, then Philadelphia Flyers once again.
OTHER ARTICLES FROM NOVEMBER
- Blown leads, reliance on goaltending are issues on Islanders' point streak
- Islanders’ point streak ends in home loss to Wild
- Islanders on three-game skid following loss to Bruins
- Islanders’ skid extends to four games after losing 4-1 to Capitals
- Islanders’ losing streak at five games after loss to Oilers
- Isles blow leads in both games of back-to-back as penalty kill struggles
- Islanders snap seven-game losing streak with shootout win over Flames