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Instant Islanders: Takeaways From 5-4 Win Over Hurricanes



AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker

The New York Islanders won their final game before Christmas, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 at PNC Arena on Saturday night.

Sebastian Aho, Brock Nelson, Bo Horvat, Mike Reilly and Anders Lee all scored in the win.

The Hurricanes had a contribution from their Sebastian Aho, as well as from Teuvo Teravainen, Jaccob Slavin and Stefan Noesen.

Ilya Sorokin made 36 saves for the Islanders. Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 22 shots for the Hurricanes.

But that’s just the box score. Here are the key takeaways from the night that was in Raleigh.

Everyone In On The Effort:

Six different Islanders had multiple points against the Hurricanes.

Anders Lee led the way with three, tallying two assists and the 250th goal of his career in his second multi-point game of the year.

Brock Nelson, Kyle Palmieri, Bo Horvat, Mathew Barzal and Mike Reilly all had two.

With his effort, Barzal reclaims the title as the Islanders’ leading scorer this season with 35 points to his record. Noah Dobson had an assist, raising his total to 34.

Nelson Pushing For 40:

Brock Nelson added to his team-leading goal total, scoring his 16th of the year to put the Islanders up 2-1 in the first period.

He’s led the Islanders in goals in each of the last two seasons and is on track to accomplish something he never has before.

Nelson is on pace to reach 40 goals for the first time in his 11-year career, which would surpass his personal best of 37 back in 2021-22.

If Nelson reaches the 40-goal benchmark, he will be the 13th player in franchise history to do so and the first since Anders Lee in 2017-18.

Grateful For The Goalies:

We say all the time how fortunate the Islanders are to have the goalie tandem of Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov in their crease.

But in this game in particular, they should be even more grateful after looking at the state of Carolina’s goaltending situation.

Against the Islanders, the Hurricanes were forced to rely on the inexperienced Pyotr Kochetkov, whose backup was Yaniv Perets.

Perets went undrafted this past summer and has only started 11 games at the professional level, none of which came in the NHL.

As for the Islanders, Sorokin was as reliable as ever, keeping them ahead all night against the high-volume Hurricanes, who refused to go away.

Blocked Shots The Difference:

The Hurricanes are notorious for firing pucks at the net with reckless abandon. In a game earlier this season, they attempted 101 shots against the Islanders

What’s the best way to defend that many shots? To get in front of some of them.

On the penalty kill in the first period, Alexander Romanov was fearless by stepping in front of a massive slap shot from Michael Bunting without hesitation.

Romanov instantly keeled over and went down to the ice after taking the shot to the midsection. He was helped to the bench by a trainer but never went to the locker room and quickly returned to finish killing off the penalty.

In total, the Islanders blocked 23 shots. Jean-Gabriel Pageau had the most with four.

Gauthier In Over Wahlstrom:

Julien Gauthier was back in the Islanders lineup after missing the last game and replaced Oliver Wahlstrom.

Wahlstrom’s demotion back to the bench clearly states his role within the Islanders organization as nothing more than depth forward.

The former 2018 first-round pick has played in just two of the Islanders’ last 11 games. He’s played in 18 this season and has only five points.

Up Next:

The Islanders head into the NHL’s three-day Christmas break winners in six of their last 10 contests. At 41 points, they sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division.

They’ll resume their schedule on Wednesday, Dec. 27, at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins.




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