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New York Islanders

THRILLYA SOROKIN: Islanders Rookie Records First NHL Win in Shutout of Sabres

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New York Islanders celebrate Sorokin win

Ilya Sorokin finally got his first career win in the NHL and the Islanders defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 to complete the series sweep in upstate New York.

Early goals from Anders Lee and Jean-Gabriel Pageau put the Islanders in the driver’s seat early on Tuesday night and Sorokin fended off Buffalo with a 20 save performance. Sorokin is the first Islanders netminder to record his first NHL win with a shutout since Anders Nilsson did so on March 4, 2012, against the New Jersey Devils.

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Tuesday was the first time that Sorokin had been in net when the Islanders were playing with a lead.

“It’s good for me to get my first win,” Sorokin said. “It’s better when you start 2-0. It’s better for your feelings.”

The victory helped vault the Islanders into second in the East Division with 20 points through 15 games. They are two points back of the division-leading Boston Bruins.

Sorokin made his fourth career NHL start on Tuesday, which featured several impressive stops in the final frame. Sorokin made a sweeping glove save on a shot by Victor Olofsson in the middle of the third and then later made an acrobatic stop on a backdoor chance by Sam Reinhart.

“He deserves (the win),” Pageau said. “He’s been very good every game he’s played for use and we haven’t in front of him. Tonight I thought he was outstanding. He made some huge saves when we needed it. Guys were sacrificing their bodies tonight trying to protect that lead and on the (penalty kill) your best PKer is your goalie. He was outstanding all night.

“We’re all pumped for him.”

Mathew Barzal was held off the score sheet for the first time in nine games and had his nine-game point streak ended. Pageau extended his goal streak to five games in the win with his sixth goal of the season

While the New York Islanders got off to a good start against Buffalo, they didn’t make the win very easy on themselves or their rookie goaltender. Buffalo controlled most of the play for the second half of the first period and most of the second and third periods.

Despite the Islanders’ effort, Buffalo struggled to capitalize, which included a 90-second sequence where play stayed in the Islanders zone during the second period. Buffalo did not register a shot there and only had three shots on net in all of the second.

“We had that one long shift in the second period,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “Sometimes you have to have some protocols in place to defend and we did. That usually comes with some commitment, but if you can defend fairly well it becomes a little bit of a security blanket when all hell breaks loose like it did in the second period there during that shift.”

The Islanders’ first goal of the night came 4:43 into the game. Noah Dobson took the puck into the offensive zone along far wall and then fed Lee for the tap-in goal as he skated on the nears side.

Pageau gave the New York Islanders a two-goal advantage at 11:58 of the period. Ryan Pulock sprung Pageau with a pass from their own end and Pageau roofed the puck past the glove of Carter Hutton.

Buffalo looked as though they might have spoiled the shutout after Adam Pelech took a slashing penalty at 12:24 of the third. Victor Olofsson was able to beat Sorokin on the ensuing power play, but after the Islanders challenged it was ruled that the play was offside.

“I think we were pretty confident that it was going to come back,” Dobson said about the challenge. “Happy it worked out that way and we were able to kill it off.”

Lee capped off the night with an empty-net goal for his seventh of the season and surpassed Jordan Eberle, Barzal and Pageau for the team lead in goals.

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[…] two ideas went hand in hand in the Islanders 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, which was Sorokin’s first NHL victory of his career. The rookie netminder made 20 […]

[…] Islanders rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin recorded his first career shutout last night as well. (NYI Hockey Now) […]

[…] he scored his fifth goal in four games, extending his goal streak to four in the Islanders’ 3-0 blanking of […]

[…] The New York Islanders finally got Ilya Sorokin his first NHL win as he shuts out the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. (NYIHockeyNow) […]

[…] the Islanders 3-0 victory over the Buffalos Sabres, rookie netminder Ilya Sorokin picked up his first National Hockey League victory. While he did not […]

[…] Semyon Varlamov will be back in net for the Isles tonight after having Tuesday off. The Islanders were finally able to get Ilya Sorokin his first career win in the NHL in a 20 save, shutout win over Buffalo. […]

New York Islanders

Islanders Plus/Minus: New York Tops Buffalo … Again

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Islanders sweep Sabres

No, this is not a copy-and-paste job from the past two games. The New York Islanders did in fact beat the Buffalo Sabres, 5-2, for the third straight game on Sunday afternoon.

It was again a second period of dominance for the Islanders, who rattled off three goals to take a commanding lead they would never relinquish.

In what has probably felt like Groundhog Day for Buffalo, it was another game of missed opportunities and a (mostly) quiet effort from its superstars. The Islanders now move to 10-0-2 at Nassau Coliseum this season as they’ve continually dominated on home ice.

Let’s take a dive into what went right and wrong for the Islanders in this Plus/Minus breakdown.

 

Plus

Anders Lee: O Captain! My Captain! 

Anders Lee has made a home office for himself in front of the net throughout his career. In 2021, he’s continued that theme and thrived in the dirty areas.

His goal 5:13 into the second period Sunday gave him a goal in back-to-back games and points in four straight contests. Now with a team-leading 12 goals this season, he’s on pace to top his 20 in 68 games from last season.

Every hockey coach will wax poetic on the importance of net-front presence, and the Islanders have one of the best forwards in the game to establish control in front of the crease. Just look at the consistency from this NBCSN graphic. Teams would be best served making sure Lee doesn’t get any space in front of the goalie. This isn’t exactly a new trend, but Lee uses his 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame to his advantage.

Second period dominance: Part II

One day after the Islanders scored four in the middle period, they punched across three in the second. Lee, Brock Nelson and Casey Cizikas all scored in what felt like a sequel to Saturday’s onslaught.

SUNDAY FUNDAY! Islanders Complete Sweep of Sabres with Third Straight 5-2 Victory

Nelson, who’s now scored in two straight, seems to finally be hitting his stride. Although five of his eight goals this year have come on the power play, his last two have come at even strength, a welcome sign for the Islanders and their scoring depth. Overall, he’s recorded a point in three straight games.

The Islanders as a team had seven high danger chances for and one allowed in the second period, which led to a gaudy 74.84 expected goals for percentage. The analytics matched with the eye test and the results.

Fourth line does it again

Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck each had a point in Saturday’s win and both were key in Sunday’s follow-up.

Clutterbuck’s goal just past the halfway mark in the third was especially important as the Sabres pressured and made it a one-goal game. Off a Brandon Davidson turnover at the blue line, Clutterbuck took the puck in all alone, used a forehand to backhand move and roofed a goal just under the bar and over Jonas Johansson’s blocker.

The fourth line was all over the scoresheet in the three-game sweep over the Sabres. Matt Martin scored twice Thursday, Clutterbuck added two over the last two games and Cizikas added one Sunday.

Yes, the Sabres are far and away the worst team in the league right now, but getting scoring depth is still important for the Islanders.

Minus

Shaky third, uneven Sorokin

Down 3-0, the Sabres showed enough pushback to get into the game in the third period and did thanks to goals from Jeff Skinner and Colin Miller. For a brief second after Miller’s goal, it was a close 3-2 game and Buffalo conceivably stayed in the game had it not been for Clutterbuck’s back-breaking goal.

Sorokin wasn’t really tested through the first two periods and wasn’t as his best in the final 20 minutes. Miller’s goal was a weak one he’d like to have back, with the puck just sliding under the netminder’s arm. Sorokin did recover to make a strong save on Skinner later in the period to keep the Sabres at two goals, but it definitely was not the best period for the rookie. In the end, he did stop 24 of 26 shots.

But had it not been for Scott Mayfield saving a loose puck near the goal line late in the third period, it likely would’ve been three goals for Buffalo.

Skinner gets off the schneid

It was going to happen eventually, but Skinner scoring his first goal of the year has to fall into the negative category for the Islanders. Buffalo’s top forwards (Skinner, Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall) have notably been quiet this season.

It was a great individual effort going from behind the net to roofing a backhander from near the crease, but when a skater hasn’t scored in over 365 days, you get a minus for allowing that to change, as nit-picky as that might be.

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New York Islanders

SUNDAY FUNDAY! Islanders Complete Sweep of Sabres with Third Straight 5-2 Victory

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New York Islanders win

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Buffalo  Sabres showed some life, but the New York Islanders held them off in the end and wrapped up a three-game set with Buffalo with a 5-2 win on Sunday at Nassau Coliseum.

Cal Clutterbuck came up with the most important goal of the afternoon, scoring with 7:03 left in the game and Buffalo carrying the momentum after pulling within one of the Isles. Clutterbuck was able to corral the puck after Matt Martin had flipped it out of the Islanders’ end.

Buffalo defenseman Brandon Davidson fell as he tried to keep up with Clutterbuck, which gave the Islanders forward a clear path to the net to score. Brock Nelson scored on the empty net at 17:48 to seal the win.

“It was a big goal,” Clutterbuck said about the play. “I just saw Marty flip a puck out and made a really good play under pressure. The puck took a bounce and I was fortunate enough to change directions… It worked out.”

It was the third consecutive game that the Islanders had defeated their Western New York foe by a 5-2 final. Sunday was the final meeting between the two teams on Long Island.

New York and Buffalo play two more times in the final week of the regular season at KeyBank Center.

“You see them three times in a row, all in our building,” Lee said. “It’s a mini-series. That third game is tough, especially on a back-to-back, and we knew that coming in. We did a real good job sticking to our game.”

The New York Islanders extended their hold of the East Division with Sunday’s win. They now sit four points ahead of the Washington Capitals, who are in action against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night. The Islanders took possession of the top spot in the division on Friday after Washington fell to the Boston Bruins.

Anders Lee and Casey Cizikas each scored on Sunday, and Nelson recorded his first two-goal game of the season. Ilya Sorokin picked up his fourth NHL win in goal, making 24 saves against Buffalo.

It was Sorokin’s seventh start this season.

“It’s tough to beat any team,” Nelson said. “These guys have a lot of weapons. Any team can beat anyone… so every game is going to be different every day…. We did a good job taking it one day at a time.”

Lee got the Islanders onto the board early in the second period with a redirection goal from in front of the net. Jordan Eberle sent a pass to Lee from the side of the net and the Islanders captain was able to put the puck past Buffalo starter Jonas Johansson at 5:13.

Just over a minute later the Islanders had made it a two-goal lead.

Oliver Wahlstrom was able to drive the puck into the offensive zone and then feed Nelson in the high slot. Nelson quickly got off a wrist shot that beat Johansson to make it a 2-0 game.

The goal extended Nelson’s point streak to three games and Sunday was the second consecutive game that Nelson had scored in.

The Islanders added to their lead late in the second when Cizikas scored off an impressive pass from Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The Islanders’ third line centerman backhanded a pass from the goal line over to Cizikas, who had been parked in front of the Buffalo Net.

Cizikas picked up his fourth point (one goal, three assists) in his last three games on the play and Pageau recorded his 200th career NHL assist.

Buffalo found some life in the third period to make things interesting. Jeff Skinner scored his first goal of the year at 5:41 of the final frame to break up Sorokin’s shutout bid.

Colin Miller pulled  Buffalo within one goal of the Islanders at the 9:35 mark of the third period.

Sunday’s game was nationally televised on NBC as part of Hockey Day in America. Lee and Nelson are both American-born and scored the first two goals of the game.

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New York Islanders

Islanders Plus/Minus: New York Rolls Over Buffalo Again | NYHN+

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Islanders celebrate goal against sabres

Another day, another 5-2 win for the New York Islanders against the Buffalo Sabres. It might not have been the prettiest start in the world, but the Islanders rolled with four goals in the second period to extend their point streak to seven games. “I don’t think we were sluggish,” Barry Trotz said of the…

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