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Turning Point: Islanders Penalty Kill in Final Minutes of Second Period

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New York Islanders

In Friday night’s 6-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, most New York Islanders had strong nights. Brock Nelson scored twice, Josh Bailey scored in his 1,000th game, and Ilya Sorokin was dominant.

RAPID RECAP: Islanders Rock Hurricanes On Bailey’s Milestone Night, Win 6-2

But one sequence, one two-minute span at the end of the second period, served as the turning point for the New York Islanders on their way to their second straight win.

Following Josh Bailey‘s goal with under four minutes to play in the second period, the Islanders found themselves shorthanded as Zach Parise went to the box for hooking with 2:40 to play in the frame.

Thirty-seven seconds into the penalty kill, Adam Pelech went to clear the puck out of the Islanders’ zone but instead flipped the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty.

Quickly into the kill, Ryan Pulock broke his stick, blocking a shot. Jean-Gabriel Pageau quickly got his stick to his defenseman, but the Hurricanes were essentially on a 5-on-2 for a good while.

But like the penalty kill has been all year for New York, it was clutch yet again, killing off Parise’s penalty and then Pelech’s penalty right as the second-period horn sounded.

They allowed five shots on the 5-on-3 against, with Ilya Sorokin standing tall to deny the chances. The penalty killers also blocked three shots (Pelech, Cizikas, Pulock).

“Our penalty kill has been good. Our goaltender has been very good on the penalty kill, so, you know, you’re down five on three, and then you break a stick, and you kind of [on] a 5-on-2, but the key was just, we had a couple of key saves. They did hit a post or two. But there was a ton of commitment there,” New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said.

“We were under siege for a long time, and you can just see it on the guys [faces] when finally, when they were able to get off the ice, how much effort they put into it.”

“It was a key moment in the game.”

Lambert was impressed with the awareness of Jean-Gabriel Pageau to dish his stick to Ryan Pulock.

“First of all, he had the awareness and poise to give his stick to Pulock. He’s a smart player, and he battled.”

Pageau credited the kill primarily to his netminder Ilya Sorokin.

“I always said your best killers are your goalies. And he was outstanding the whole game. He kept us in with some big saves when we needed it,” Pageau said. “And then after that, I think it was a full effort from everyone, and to make it even more special, Bailey scoring.”

For Pageau, losing his stick forced him to play strong structurally while also relying on his teammates to get in shooting lanes.

“I think your instinct, you got to be in position, and it’s desperation [situation], a sacrifice. I know [we had] some big blocks by our defenseman who tried to be in the lane,” Pageau said. “Our kill has been good, and thanks to everyone, the goalies, the defense, and forwards.”

Cal Clutterbuck explained how critical 5-on-3 situations are for the outcomes of hockey games.

“You know what they say about five on threes. If you score, there’s a good chance you win the game. If you don’t score, there’s a good chance you lose the game, and those guys did a great job,” Clutterbuck said.

“I mean, you have to give him [Sorokin] a lot of the credit. He was outstanding, even in the last minute when we decided to cough a couple [pucks] up. Great job by all those guys.”

“Unfortunate penalty to take. We’re just trying to clear the puck. It just goes over the glass, and sometimes you just got to bear down and get through t, hose, and we did.”

With the two kills in the second period and a third kill in the third after a Mat Barzal cross-check, the Islanders’ penalty kill improved to 28 for 28 to start the season.

The New York Islanders have now gone eight straight games to start the season without allowing a power-play goal, setting a new NHL record.

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