UNIONDALE, N.Y. — When the New York Islanders needed to most, they stepped up.
The Islanders’ offensive exploded for four goals and Ilya Sorokin made 29 saves in a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 at the Nassau Coliseum. The effort was the best the Islanders have had in the series and sends it back to Pittsburgh even at 2-2.
The New York Islanders scored twice on the power play on Saturday, Jordan Eberle finally found the back of the net and Oliver Wahlstrom also scored his first career playoff goal.
“I think we did a good job on all ends of the ice,” Ryan Pulock said. “In the neutral zone. It’s tight out there. They’re playing well and we have to make sure we get through the neutral zone and to our forecheck… I thought we did a good job all the way through.”
— Christian Arnold (@C_Arnold01) May 22, 2021
It was a radical departure from Game 2 and Game 3 where the Islanders allowed goals within the first five minutes of the opening faceoff and spent most of the nights playing from behind. The Islanders took command of the game early in the first period and at one point had held a 5-1 advantage in shots.
New York finished the game with 27 shots on goal.
“It was more of an Islander type of victory,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “Just last game had some momentum swings that you usually don’t see that many when we’re on our game. We were working toward that and I think we got closer to that today.”
Sorokin made a number of strong saves throughout the night in the second playoff start of his NHL career. He was 2:35 away from a shutout before Pittsburgh finally found the back of the net.
“Yesterday I felt good, I had a good practice and I was ready,” Sorokin said about his mindset for Game 4.
It was the second period that the Islanders began to open things up. First Josh Bailey scored his second of the series off a pass from the corner from Brock Nelson. Tristan Jarry was caught deep in his net after Anthony Beauvillier was pushed into him by a Pittsburgh defender and Bailey managed to sneak the shot by.
The Islanders extended the lead to two goals with 5:09 left in the second period. Oliver Wahlstrom put a shot on net and the rebound went right to Ryan Pulock, who fired the puck off a Pittsburgh skater and past Jarry.
New York scored its first of two power-play goals early in the third period. Wahlstrom had a one-timer stopped by Jarry by the rebound was put into the net by Teddy Blueger and gave the Islanders a 3-0 lead at the 6:04 mark.
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) May 22, 2021
The New York Islanders capitalized 24 seconds later when Mathew Barzal found Eberle in the slot to make it a 4-0 game. The goal was Eberle’s first of the series and followed up a strong effort he had in game 3 on Thursday.
Zach Aston-Reese was the only Pittsburgh player to score on Saturday, ending Sorokin’s shutout bid at the 17:25 mark.
The Game 4 victory guarantees that the Islanders will play at least one more game at the Nassau Coliseum this season. The Islanders are scheduled to move into UBS Arena in the fall, ending the team’s second run at the Coliseum.
Saturday’s game was a star-studded affair with Islander alumni and members of the New York Jets, including new star quarterback Zach Wilson, in attendance. The game was listed as a sellout with 6,800 fans packing
“The crowd is a big factor in this building and they have to continue to give us their best,” Trotz said. “We’ll give our best, they have to give their best and I think they gave it today.”
Game 5 will take place on Monday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.