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Rapid Reaction: Brock Nelson Leads Islanders in Thrashing of Canadiens

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New York Islanders

The New York Islanders defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-2 after a five-day break. The win extends the Islanders’ point streak to six games and moved their record to 4-2-2.

How it Happened: Brock Nelson scored a hat trick, with Oliver Wahlstrom and Jean-Gabriel Pageau adding goals in the New York Islanders first game back after a week off. The offensive onslaught started in the first period when Nelson scored his first of the night. New York quickly transitioned the puck up the ice and Nelson made a strong effort to get by a Montreal defender, slip the puck to Kyle Palmieri and get the puck back in the slot for the goal.

The Islanders extended their lead in the second period when Wahlstrom scored his fifth goal of the year on a blistering wrist shot from the top of the slot. Casey Cizikas was able to move the puck from the corner out to Wahlstrom who was undefended.

The third goal of the game came at 12:25 of the middle frame when Nelson cleaned up a loose puck in front. The Islanders had charged into the zone on an odd-man rush and after Jake Allen made the initial stop, New York managed to keep the puck in the zone and set up the goal for Nelson. The 30-year-old completed the hat trick at the 15:23 mark when he backhanded the puck past Allen to give the Islanders a 4-0 lead.

Pageau made it 5-0 when he buried a shot from in front of the net off a feed from Zach Parise. Nick Suzuki broke the shutout at 15:21 of the third period with his second goal of the year and Tyler Toffoli scored Montreal’s only other goal of the night.

Nelson made it 6-2 when he scored an empty-net goal in the closing seconds of the third.

Bro-vember Returns: It’s safe to say Brock Nelson is back. The Islanders forward recorded his first hat trick of the season and has five points (three goals, two assists) in his last four games. Nelson was the first Islander to score four goals in a game since Kyle Okposo did it on January 16, 2015 against Pittsburgh and the first Isles player to do it in Montreal since Mike Bossy did so on Nov. 1, 1984.

It has been a major turnaround after Nelson, along with the rest of the second line, struggled to produce. Nelson had one point — a goal in the season opener — through New York’s first four games before he has turned things around over the last four. Part of what helped has been shuffling the forward group and putting Kyle Palmieri on the win alongside Beauvillier and Nelson.

So Close to a Shutout: The New York Islanders just seem to have an aversion to getting Ilya Sorokin a shutout. The Islanders starter made 36 saves in the fourth win of the season and while the young netminder looked a little uncomfortable at times early in the game, he had another strong effort in the end.

Still, the Islanders surrendered a pair of goals late in the game to end Sorokin’s shutout bid that would have been his third of the year. It’s the second time this season that it has happened, the first being in Chicago,  but a result of New York appearing to take their foot off the gas a bit late in the game and a win very much in sight.

A Team Well Rested: The time off did the New York Islanders some good. They looked refreshed and ready to go even as they shook off some of the rust. Aside from the latter half of the third period, they looked to be in control most of the night. They were the better team when it came to high danger chances through the first two periods.

A Night of First: It took eight games, but Parise and Zdeno Chara got their first points as members of the New York Islanders. Pageau’s goal was also his first of the season. Parise and Chara are significant considering the expectations on them, especially Parise who has played well even without putting up points through the first seven games.

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