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(Pu)Lock it Down: Islanders Defenseman Scores Game-Winner in Victory of Rangers

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New York Islanders Ryan Pulock goal

It took Ryan Pulock 42 games, but there was no better time than on Sunday for him to score his first goal of the season for the New York Islanders.

Pulock made it count when the Islanders needed him to, finding the back of the net 1:13 into overtime to defeat the New York Rangers 3-2 at Nassau Coliseum. It helped salvage a rough 40 minutes in the second and third for the Islanders, who had let a two-goal lead slip away.

The Islanders were able to force the Rangers to turnover the puck along the wall in their own end. Mathew Barzal picked up the puck and sent it over to Pulock, who was able to put the puck past Rangers starter Igor Shesterkin.

“They were maybe more excited than I was, which is kind of tough,” Pulock said about his teammates excited for him to break his drought. “Throughout my career, I’ve been able to score a little bit and to kind of go through a little slump like that it’s tough. As the games wore on it got tougher, but I knew I needed to just get that one. Obviously, it came at a big moment and I’m excited about that.”

Kyle Palmieri and Jean-Gabriel Pageau each scoredd for the Islanders as well.

The win helped the Islanders go 5-1-0 during a six-game homestand at the Coliseum. Their only loss came on Friday night against the Rangers when they fell 4-1.

“Obviously beating the Rangers is a big thing and winning games at home is huge, especially this time of year,” Palmieri said. “The team found a way to get it done tonight. That’s all that you could ask for.”

Ilya Sorokin made 24 saves for the Islanders in his 11th win of the season. Sorokin was playing against fellow Russian netminder and friend Shesterkin for the first time in the NHL.

“It’s certainly a big moment because we started playing against each other in junior leagues,” Sorokin said. “And now, we play in the NHL. It’s a big moment for me, and for him, I think.”

Palmieri scored his first goal as an Islander to give his team the early lead. The goal came 1:47 into the first period with the Islanders on the power play.

Palmieri whacked at the redirected puck, which got past Igor Shesterkin to put the Islanders up 1-0.

The New York Islanders added to that lead with a goal with less than 10 seconds left in the first period. A quick rush by Mathew Barzal out of his own end allowed him to move the puck to Jordan Eberle, who sent a cross-ice pass to Pageau for the one-timer shot.

The goal was Pageau’s 12th of the season and capped a strong 20 minutes for the Islanders, but the momentum would quickly shift in the middle frame.

Libor Hajek was the one to get the Rangers onto the board in the second. The shot from the point made its way through traffic and beat Sorokin to cut the Islanders’ lead to 2-1.

The game was tied at two at 12:16 after the Islanders lost a face-off draw in their own zone and the Rangers made them pay. Brendan Smith fired a laser of a shot that beat Sorokin high stick side.

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