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New York Islanders

Islanders Locker Room: ‘We Just Needed One’, Sorokin’s OT Brilliance



New York Islanders

PITTSBURGH — The New York Islanders found themselves in a similar position entering the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. A comeback seemed bleak down a pair, 3-1, given what had transpired in the previous 40 minutes.

But the resilient Islanders kept at it, mounting their third come-from-behind victory in four games against the Penguins this season in what was a crazy game at PPG Paints Arena.

As you can imagine, the locker room was full of energy and exhaustion.

“Obviously, it’s a big win. It’s exciting, It wasn’t our prettiest game of late by any means, but we battled. We fought for that one quite a bit. Last 20 minutes, we did everything we could to right the ship and get back in that game,” Anders Lee said.

The newest dynamic duo for New York, Casey Cizikas and Hudson Fasching connected to get the third-period party started.

“We needed one. We just needed one. And then (being) able to tie it up late in the period. Then a big goal by Nelson.”

Nelson’s 28th of the season was a pretty big one, as he made no mistake, beating Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry low blocker side on the breakaway:

“I was pretty set on what I was gonna do coming up the ice,” Nelson said. “I wasn’t thinking deke too much. Just coming in with speed, and yeah, I know that the ice is not always great in overtime too, so I settled it down a little bit.”

Netminder Ilya Sorokin had to battle throughout the game, and in the biggest of moments, he came through as not only did he stop a howitzer by Marcus Pettersson, but he mimicked Billy Smith, poke-checking the puck off of Rickard Rakell’s stick.

That poke-check earned him his first career NHL point, as he earned the primary assist on Nelson’s overtime dagger.

Nelson was asked about giving Sorokin the game-winner for the first assist to which Nelson replied:

“We should […] It was huge. He bailed me out there with the stick in the defensive zone.”

Sorokin finished the night with 33 saves on 36 shots and has helped the Islanders to three straight wins and points in the last four.

“We can give him full marks for keeping us in it when he had to,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “They go to the net hard, they tip a lot of pucks, have really good skill level and hand-eye and things like that. So it was not going to be an easy night for him.”

“And I thought he battled through right until the bitter end.”

The New York Islandes now have a chance to sweep the week as they host the Washington Capitals Saturday night.