It was up in the air whether Ilya Sorokin or Semyon Varlamov would play tonight given the back to back games this weekend, but Barry Trotz decided to go with the hot hand for the first half, and was rewarded with a well-earned shutout from Sorokin.
Anders Lee opened the scoring early and the Islanders were (mostly) in control for the rest of the game, but Sorokin was critical to keeping the game out of reach for Winnipeg as Lee’s goal was the only tally for just around two total periods of game action. Brock Nelson scored his 5th goal in the past two games to make it 2-0 just a minute into the third, and the Islanders would hold on to win the game. Sorokin’s shutout was his third so far this season.
Anthony Beauvillier had a good chance early that he shot high, but Anders Lee would open the scoring (just after Butch Goring had talked about his slow start to the season and how he’s likely still recovering from knee surgery). Josh Bailey and Mat Barzal forechecked behind the net to win possession of the puck, and Bailey passed it out front to Lee, who put it past Eric Comrie to make it 1-0.
Anders got it quiet in Manitoba pic.twitter.com/8fPChWmcjN— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) November 6, 2021
Comrie later robbed Barzal, preventing it from being 2-0 in the first, and the Islanders would get a power play with just around 20 seconds remaining in the period after Evgeny Svechnikov (older brother of Hurricanes’ Andrei Svechnikov) went to the box for slashing Cal Clutterbuck.
The Islanders didn’t score on the man advantage, and Winnipeg nearly tied it after Mark Scheifele missed an open net.
Comrie made a save on Nelson, the Barzal line was buzzing all game, and JG Pageau, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Zach Parise combined for a fantastic tic tac toe passing play that was just missing the finish from Parise, who tipped the puck wide.
Casey Cizikas had a shot off a partial breakaway that was stopped by Comrie as well.
Adam Lowry laid a big hit on Nelson earlier in the second period, and after he and Scott Mayfield came together by the benches, they dropped the gloves and both received 5 minute fighting majors.
The Jets nearly got the game tied up again after the puck bounced off a stanchion and right into the crease in front of Sorokin. He was able to get a piece of it and then Zdeno Chara cleaned it up after, preventing what would have been an extremely weird and flukey goal.
Sorokin then made a big save on Svechnikov, and kept the scoresheet empty for the Jets.
Less than a minute in, Nelson would make it 2-0 off a great wrist shot on a 2 on 1. Forget Brocktober, it’s all about Brovember now!
5 goals in 2 games for my man Brock pic.twitter.com/0a2QaUkwJc— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) November 7, 2021
Sorokin made a big save on Nikolaj Ehlers and then one on Kyle Connor to keep it 2-0.
Kyle Palmieri had his backhand attempt saved, and he still has yet to score a goal for the Islanders this season (let him grow his beard, Lou, the goals come from the beard!)
Barzal had a long breakaway that ended with him beating Comrie but hitting the crossbar, and then had another potential chance at a wide open net, but was turned around to receive the puck and couldn’t get it towards the net. He took an offensive zone penalty a little bit after that for tripping behind the net, and the Islanders had to kill a penalty to keep the Jets out of the game.
Winnipeg pulled Comrie for an extra skater on the power play, but the Islanders were able to kill the penalty, and Nelson missed his second goal of the game by hitting the post on the empty net. It wouldn’t make a difference anyway, as the Islanders held onto the shutout to win 2-0.
- Parise hasn’t scored yet for the Islanders, but he was all over the ice tonight, and that line continues to look really, really good. While it seems like Oliver Wahlstrom will inevitably be the long-term RW1 for the Islanders, right now he’s got some good chemistry going on the third line and there isn’t a whole lot of need to change it.
- Kyle Palmieri also hasn’t scored yet this season, but his assist on Nelson’s goal is his 5th, tied for the team lead with Josh Bailey.
- Ilya Sorokin honestly could have had five shutouts this season (the games against the Blackhawks and Canadiens really should have been shutouts), which is insane to think about. After a really shaky start, the white whale has found his game.
- Speaking of shaky starts, Bailey had just 1 point in his first four games and looked lost out on the ice. He’s now got 5 points in his last 5 games. Nelson also had a pretty slow start, with just 1 goal in his first four games this season. He’s got 6 goals and 8 points in his last 5 games. Nice stuff.
Next, the Islanders head to Minnesota tomorrow to take on the Wild. It’ll be Parise’s first game back since his buyout this summer, and a homecoming for Nelson and Lee. It should also be Semyon Varlamov’s season debut after an injury kept him out for the first month.