The Islanders are now 32-25-8 with 72 points through 65 games, jumping the Pittsburgh Penguins to sit in the top wild-card spot. The Penguins have played four fewer games, sitting with 71 points.
Anders Lee-Bo Horvat-Pierre Engvall
Zach Parise-Brock Nelson-Kyle Palmieri
Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Hudson Fasching
Simon Holmstrom-Otto Koivula-Josh Bailey
Adam Pelech-Scott Mayfield
Alexander Romanov-Ryan Pulock
Sebastian Aho-Noah Dobson
The New York Islanders were ready to go for the afternoon matinee as they registered eight shots on goal before the Detroit Red Wings could get their first. What took a bit of steam out of their game was a Noah Dobson trip after a turnover.
The Islanders easily killed the penalty, as Sorokin was forced to make just one stop.
The Islanders ended the opening frame up 18-6 in shots, with a few grade-A chances in the final five minutes, but the scoreboard read zero’s across.
The biggest takeaway from the first period was the defense pairing configuration, as Islanders head coach Lane Lambert went the old carousel method throughout the opening twenty. Bo Horvat continued to be a wizard in the face-off dot as he won all six draws playing the most minutes amongst the forward group, 7:27.
The second period was more of the same, as the Islanders continued to shove shots down the Red Wings’ throat, but netminder Magnus Hellberg battled, stopping.
After a Ryan Pulock turnover in the offensive zone, his third of the day, Bo Horvat took a hooking penalty, sending the Islanders to the penalty kill for the second time today.
The Islanders killed off the penalty, again with ease, allowing just one shot.
Later in the frame, Horvat took his second penalty of the night, but this time the Islanders failed to shut the door.
Following a Josh Bailey shorthanded chance, in which he missed the net, Dylan Larkin was left wide-open below the right face-off dot and made no mistake, beating Sorokin under the blocker for his 23rd of the season.
Moritz Seider and Robby Fabbri were credited with the assists with 1:01 to play in the second.
The Islanders ended the period up 25 to 12 in shots, but Hellberg did his job.
Early in the third, the Islanders evened up the score courtesy of Zach Parise, as he potted his 16th of the season off a rebound. Sebastian Aho led the rush through the neutral zone, breaking a pair of ankles before deflecting a Kyle Palmieri shot. Hellberg made the save, but Parise was ready and waiting for the rebound.
“He’s a goal scorer. That’s what goal-scorers do,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said about Parise’s timely goals. “They find pucks in big moments. They know where to go. They have a knack for where that puck is coming in, where it has a good chance of bouncing, and no surprise there that he’s the one that pounces on it.”
Less than two and a half minutes later, Anders Lee redirected a Hudson Fasching shot for his 23rd of the season as the Islanders took their first lead of the night, 2-1, with less than five minutes into third.
With a tad over four minutes to play in the third, Kyle Palmieri provided the insurance as he deflected a Dobson blast on the power play for his 13th of the season to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead. Brock Nelson and Bo Horvat were credited with the assists.
Less than two minutes later, Lee scored his second as he sniped Hellberg glove side for his 23rd of the season after a Josh Bailey pass.
The Islanders and Ilya Sorokin, who made 22 saves on 23 shots, shut the door for the 4-1 win.
Sorokin’s father was in the building and got to see him play in person for the first time in 10 years.
Pierre Engvall made his Islanders debut, logging 17:26 minutes, 1:00 on the penalty kill, with two shots.
“I liked him a lot. You know, he obviously showed his speed,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “There are little things in the game that until you have a player and watch him very, very closely, and he’s not on the other team, he’s on your team, there’s little things that I like that he did in terms of just his thought process in certain areas.”
Envgall was ready for his Islanders debut the moment he woke up.
“It was really cool,” Engvall said. “Like I said before, I think when I woke up this morning, I was really excited to come here and play the game, and it was a lot of fun.”
With the shutdown third period and the abundance of offense, the New York Islanders have now outscored their opponents 13-0 in the third period over the last eight games, potting four in the final frame Saturday.
“What I will say is that I thought our guys showed tremendous resolve and urgency going into the third period understanding the situation at hand,” Lambert said.
UP NEXT: The New York Islanders host the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night at 7:30 PM at UBS Arena.