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Rapid Reaction: Islanders Tame Coyotes, Play Their System in Shutout Win



New York Islanders

ELMONT— The New York Islanders pushed their win streak to three games as they defeated the Arizona Coyotes Friday night by a score of 4-0. With the regulation win, the Islanders leapfrogged the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers to take possession of fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders improve their record to 14-13-6, 7-6-3 record at UBS Arena.

How it Happened

New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield opened the scoring as his slap shot beat a screened Scott Wedgewood at 13:51 of the first period. Anders Lee provided the screen in front. Adam Pelech and Mat Barzal were credited with the assists on Mayfield’s second of the season.

Austin Czarnik made it 2-0 at 16:49 of the first period as he finished off a slap-pass by Mayfield for his second of the season. Mayfield and Barzal were credited with the assists.

Brock Nelson made it 3-0 as he beat Wedgewood high glove side on an odd-man rush. His 12th of the season was assisted by Josh Bailey and Adam Pelech at 1:22 of the third period.

Nelson added his second of the game to make it 4-0 with just over 10 minutes to play in the third period. As the puck made its way into the slot, the puck hit off Nelson who then slid into Wedgewood along with the puck. After a lengthy video review, it was ruled that the puck went into the net legally. Anthony Beauvillier and Bailey were credited with the assists on Nelson’s 13 of the season at 9:59 of the third period.

Austin a Perfect Fit on the Islanders Top Line

New York Islanders forward Austin Czarnik had waited patiently to get another chance to help the Islanders. Head coach Barry Trotz sat Kieffer Bellows and slotted Czarnik in on the top line alongside Anders Lee and Mat Barzal. And it paid off. Czarnik, given his wheels, was not only able to skate with Barzal but was able to get to loose pucks and find Barzal all night long. In the first period, the Islanders cycled the Arizona Coyotes’ zone as Czarnik was in the right spot to bury his second of the season and give the Islanders a 2-0 lead.

Czarnik, 5’9, garnered inside position at the back-post and made himself an option for Mayfield.

Czarnik played strong on the defensive side of the puck as well. He had a big block in the first period and was able to cover back when Barzal ever got trapped.

His worth ethic is something that Trotz has spoken about often. And after the game he showcased Friday night against Arizona, it makes him a tough player to take out of the lineup Saturday against Toronto.

Islanders Shutdown Defense Strategy Stifles Arizona

The New York Islanders played their defensive-minded system to a tee on Friday night. They allowed just 17 shots on goal and recorded 11 blocks and 19 hits. The Islanders did not give the Coyotes a single power-play opportunity.

Ilya Sorokin was not called upon often to make big saves, as most shots came from the outside.

The Islanders kept it simple, as they got pucks deep when they could and very rarely made questionable decisions, as the Islanders only committed on the night.

In the final minutes of the third period, the Islanders slowed the game down, as they took their time to get the puck up the ice and essentially ice the game.

Sorokin Shuts Out Arizona For Second Time

Earlier in the season, New York Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin put together back-to-back shutouts, first against the Arizona Coyotes on Oct. 23, and then followed it up with a shutout of the Vegas Golden Knights a day later. With the back-to-back situation Friday and Saturday, Sorokin was tasked with playing the Coyotes yet again.

His night ended with his second shutout against the Coyotes this season.

It was a much different shutout as the Coyotes only recorded  17 shots on Friday night, compared to the 26 they got off back in late October.

Only three of the 17 Arizona shots were considered high danger shots.

Sorokin improves to 4-0-0 over his last four contests, with a.949  SV% a 0.81 GAA.

Game Notes: 

New York Islanders forward Ross Johnston, after serving his three-game suspension, was not in the lineup against Arizona. Matt Martin remained, as the fourth line had played pivotal roles in the prior two wins over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday and Tuesday. Forward Austin Czarnik was in the lineup for the first time since the contest against the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 13. He skated on the Islanders’ top line.

Kieffer Bellows was a healthy scratch for Friday’s tilt.

The New York Islanders announced that legend Clark Gillies has passed away. Thought and prayers to his family, friends, and everyone he has touched.

Up Next: The New York Islanders will host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, Jan. 23 at  UBS Arena.

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