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New York Islanders

Islanders Take Two Points From Red Wings Behind Two Goals From Brock Nelson



AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

DETROIT– Brock Nelson scored twice, but it was Mathew Barzal’s go-ahead goal at 13:58 of a back-and-forth third period that helped the New York Islanders survive against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night and escape Little Caesars Arena with a 5-3 win, along with a desperately needed two points.

The win helped the Islanders sweep their two-game road trip and improved their record to 25-20-14. It also snapped the six-game winning streak the Red Wings carried into play.

Despite stealing two points on Thursday, the Islanders remain eight points behind the Red Wings in the wildcard standings. Still, they’re two points they’ll gladly take as they fight to stay relevant in the chase for a playoff spot.

“We want it to be [something we can build on],” Nelson said. “It was a good trip. Now we need to go back home and get some rest. It doesn’t get any easier for us.”

After Patrick Kane drew the Red Wings even at 2-2 just 10 seconds into the third period, Nelson reclaimed the advantage for the Islanders on the power play when he scored his team-leading 27th goal of the season and second goal of the evening.

Nelson wasn’t the only player who found the back of the net twice. Olli Maatta had two goals for Detroit, including one that tied the score once again midway through the third.

With the Islanders’ lead having evaporated for the second time, Barzal put his team ahead for good with a little help from Red Wings netminder Alex Lyon.

With sticks digging at the puck from all angles, Lyon failed to grab hold of it in his crease. Eventually, Barzal found it behind the goal line and threw it back toward the net, where it kicked off the goalie’s heel and in for the winning score.

“A one-goal game in this league, it’s nothing,” head coach Patrick Roy said. “Even a two-goal lead is nothing in this league. We play against very good hockey clubs, and we need to do a very good job for 60 minutes. But tonight, I was very impressed with our group because when they scored early in that third period, we didn’t change our game. We took a 3-2 lead, they scored, we didn’t change our game. The next group really made a commitment to shut this down and turn it around, and Barzal scored a big goal for us.”

Pierre Engvall provided the extra padding when he scored the first empty net goal of the season for the Islanders with 36 seconds remaining.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Roy said. “It was a great play by our guys. We were strong in the corners. We competed well, and the puck came out. It was great patience by Simon [Holmstrom] on that play to give Pierre the empty net.”

It was the second goal the new-look third line accounted for in the game.

After Nelson opened the scoring in the first period, Casey Cizikasith deflected in Adam Pelech’s shot from the point to put the Islanders ahead 2-0, but only after the goal survived an official review for a high stick.

In goal, Ilya Sorokin stopped 22 of the 25 shots that came his way, never allowing the Islanders to fall behind Detroit or at all during the road trip.

With two wins on the road and now 64 points, the Islanders will return home for a two-game home stand beginning Saturday against the Boston Bruins, hoping to deliver the same kind of result.

“Let’s give some nice hockey to our fans,” Roy said. “Let’s give our fans some wins. I mean, I think they deserve it. They’ve been they’ve been very patient with us, and it’s up to us now to to go and play a Boston and St. Louis in two solid games.”




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