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New York Islanders

3 Takeaways: Bellows Shaky, Martin & Cizikas Score, Penalty Kill Perfect



Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas, and Robin Salo embrace after Cizikas scores in the second period of Monday's win over the Philadelphia Flyeys

The New York Islanders defeated the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-1 on Monday night. In a bounce-back winning following a tough loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday, the Islanders had a new member on the top line, the fourth line play to their identity, and the penalty kill was perfect for a second straight contest.

Here are the three takeaways from the win:

Bellows and Barzal Not in Sync

Since taking Kyle Palmieri’s (IR) spot in the lineup, New York Islanders forward Kieffer Bellows had been producing. Bellows worked his way up to the second line in the 2-0 shutout loss to the Washington Capitals after games on the third line.

On Monday, he found himself on the top line alongside Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee.

Bellows and Barzal had a few chances to connect on plays in the first period, but miscommunication saw those chances go by the wayside.

Early in the first period, Barzal made a pass to Bellows through the slot, but Bellows was not expecting it as he had crashed the net. Later on in the frame, Barzal made a few moves in the slot and dropped the puck to Bellows.

Whether Bellows was expecting it or not, the puck hopped over his stick in what would have been a prime scoring chance.

There was not much from that line as the game went on, as the second line carried the offense.

Bellows finished the night with just one shot on goal in 13:35 minutes.

Trotz, following the game, told the media that he was not a huge fan of the combo and explained how it was not fair to judge Bellows on that game.

As we have seen in the past, playing with Barzal takes a certain type of player.

Cizikas and Martin Ends Goal Scoring Drought

Islanders’ fourth-line forwards Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin had not scored a goal this season. But that all changed when both scored in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.

Cizikas, who scored the Islanders’ second goal of the contest, did not even realize that he was the one who got a piece of the puck before it beat Philadelphia netminder Martin Jones.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Cizikas said following the contest. “To be honest with you. When I turned around and I saw Marty’s hands in the air I honestly thought it hit off him.”

Martin got the monkey off his back with the empty-net goal with just over a minute and a half to play in the contest. They don’t ask how, they ask how many.

For Martin, his playing time has been limited due to an injury as well as the strong play of Ross Johnston. But with Johnston suspended, Martin has played in the last two contests.

The last time these two forwards scored was back against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the semi-finals of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Cizikas scored in Game 3 and Martin scored in Game 4.

Penalty Kill Perfect

The New York Islanders made their way to the penalty box four times in the win over Philadelphia, as forward Oliver Wahlstrom found his way to the box twice, along with Anders Lee and Scott Mayfield.

But the penalty kill did its job as they killed off the chances that came this way. The two penalty-kill units combined to limit the Flyers to three shots on their four opportunities.

More often than not, the Islanders cleared the puck down the length of the ice with ease. But patience afforded the Islanders two short-handed chances, and although none of the attempts went into the net, valuable time ticked off the game clock.

Netminder Ilya Sorokin was not tasked with many chances against while the Islanders were short-handed.

The Islanders penalty kill was perfect against Washington on Saturday and now have killed off 10 of the last 11 penalties against them.

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