UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The night started with a goal from Brock Nelson and ended with one from him too as the New York Islanders defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in the shootout. The victory moved the Islanders into sole possession of first place in the East Division after Washington lost to Boston.
It was far from a perfect win, but the New York Islanders managed to get the job done in part thanks to a 25 save effort from Ilya Sorokin. The Islanders had held an early 2-0 lead before the momentum shifted in the first period and Philadelphia took control of the game after kill off a five-minute power play.
“We came out pretty good,” Nelson said. “That’s something we’ve talked about and want to do more of, but I think tonight we maybe took our foot off a bit. They had some chances. The five-minute power play we didn’t really get much on it. You;’d like to get something out of that. … Some nights not everything is going to go your way. It’s going to be tough. It’s nice that we’re in here now on top.”
2 angles of Brock’s BEAUTIFUL shootout winner! 🥳 pic.twitter.com/JZJo8Wnu9n
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 9, 2021
Thursday night marked the eighth time in the last 12 meetings between Philly and New York dating back to the bubble that the two sides have needed at least overtime to determine a winner. Including Thursday, the last two games have needed to go to the shootout to determine a winner.
Jordan Eberle scored the Islanders’ only other goal in regulation on Thursday night.
The win came in Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac’s first game since being traded to the Islanders on Wednesday night. The two arrived on Long Island and participated in the morning skate on Thursday before appearing in the lineup later that night.
Palmier and Zajac skated with Jean-Gabriel Pageau against Philadelphia
“Got to meet everyone this morning and everyone was so welcoming,” Palmieri said about his first game with the Islanders. “To be a part of a team like that, that cares about each other and plays for each other. That was evident the second I walked into the locker room and that’s exciting for any player to be a part of.”
Leo Komarov remained in the lineup despite the additions of Palmieri and Zajac, while rookies Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom were kept out of the game. Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said that Wahlstrom was available to play in Thursday’s game.
The decision to keep him out of the lineup stemmed from the abundance of veterans they have now and the fact that he had been a bit banged up over the past two games.
New York’s troubles on Thursday began after an ugly five-minute power-play chance in the first period after Samual Morin was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Casey Cizikas. The Islanders only put up a couple of shots on net and Philadelphia generated a few short-handed scoring opportunities.
From there, Philadelphia took control of the game.
“We had them at 2-0, you had them in a very vulnerable spot and we let them hang around,” Trotz said. “They ended up getting momentum from the power play. I just thought they were working harder on the penalty kill than we were working on the power play and therefore they got momentum off of that. We let them off the hook and anytime someone lets you off the floor they can get up and punch you back in the nose.
“They almost did tonight. I thought they played a much better game than we did.”
The New York Islanders got off to a quick start on Thursday night with their first goal at the 6:10 mark of the first period. The Islanders broke out of their own end and Ryan Pulock skated down the wing and around the Philadelphia net, before feeding Nelson in front of the net for the goal.
It was Nelson’s team-leading 15th goal of the year.
Brock & Eberle go back to back for the early 2-0 lead pic.twitter.com/MoCLXze1g5
— Isles on MSG+ Tonight (@IslesMSGN) April 8, 2021
The Islanders added to that just over a minute later when Eberle made it a two-goal game. Mathew Barzal forced Philadelphia to cough up the puck in their own end and Leo Komarov sent a quick pass to Eberle for the goal at 7:13.
The game shifted the other way after Philadelphia killed a five-minute major on Samual Morin and they used the momentum to get back into the contest. Nicolas Aube-Kubel was able to pull his team within one with a shot from the point that Sorokin tried to punch away, but instead had hit off the butt end of his stick and go in.
A fast start by Philadelphia in the second period led to the visitors from the City of Brotherly Love tying the game 3:22 into the middle frame. Jakob Voracek was able to score off the rush and tie the game at two.