We don’t often get to say this, but the Islanders’ power play won them the game tonight. The Isles did dominate at 5v5, holding the Pens to just 12 shots at even strength, but they could only get their own goals on the man advantage. Oliver Wahlstrom opened up the scoring with a snipe of a goal in the first, and JG Pageau extended the lead to 2-0 in the second. While Sorokin didn’t face a ton of shots, he came up big when he needed to, especially during the Penguins’ third period push, and certainly earned his shutout, breaking records last set in 1975 and 1986.
Shots were all Isles in the first, with the first Penguins shot coming with just 4:09 left in the period. However, the Isles never looked particularly threatening with their shots, either, and would end the period with just 9 shots of their own. But late in the first, Marcus Pettersson took a hooking penalty, and on the man advantage,Josh Bailey dished it off to Nick Leddy, who found Oliver Wahlstrom all alone at the faceoff dot, and he sniped it past Casey DeSmith.
Man, what a wicked shot by Wahlstrom. Look where this thing hits the net pic.twitter.com/68DUzLPc6U— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) February 28, 2021
It’s Wahlstrom’s third goal this season, and he’s looked more confident with the puck each game. His shot is a huge asset on the power play, and hopefully we’ll see more goals like these.
One of the better 5v5 chances of the game came when Matt Martin found Leo Komarov one on one against DeSmith, but he shot it right at DeSmith.
The Isles went to the power play again when Evgeni Malkin broke his stick over Adam Pelech’s. The PP looked good but couldn’t break through.
Sorokin made a good save on a Mike Matheson wrap around attempt, and then Jake Guentzel took a penalty for tripping.
Pageau scored the second power play goal of the game, a solid shot that knocked Bryan Rust’s stick out of his hand and went past DeSmith.
With that goal, Pageau ties Anders Lee for the team lead with 9. Oliver Wahlstrom picked up an assist on the goal, giving him two points in the game.
Anthony Beauvillier was called for a penalty for crosschecking Sidney Crosby. Crosby, for his part, had been crosschecking Ryan Pulock prior, but Beau’s knocked him down to draw the call.
On that penalty kill, Casey Cizikas was able to get a shorthanded breakaway, but was held up by a Jake Guentzel slash that went uncalled. Sorokin made a good save, and ultimately the Isles killed the penalty.
Jordan Eberle took a penalty early, pulling down PO Joseph while trying to move around him to get to the puck. Sorokin was big again on this power play, a key part of the Isles kill.
Jared McCann was called for goaltender interference, and the Isles went to the power play once again, but this one really didn’t have much going for it and the Penguins killed it.
Crosby hit Beauvillier into the net away from the puck and the two got into it, crosschecking each other, eventually getting broken up by the refs. Once again, Crosby managed to come away from that without a penalty. Interesting stuff!
Nelson and Beau had a partial 2 on 1, and Rust took a shot at Beauvillier, which resulted in an interference penalty. This Isles PP didn’t result in a goal either.
With about two minutes left, the Penguins were looking to pull DeSmith, but the Isles were able to delay that for a bit. Eventually, the Penguins successfully got the extra skater on the ice, but the game ended as Pageau hit the post on the empty net, giving Ilya Sorokin the first Isles shutout against the Penguins since Kelly Hrudey in 1986.
- Pageau has been phenomenal lately - he’s been huge for the Isles in all situations, and having scoring spread out between his line, Barzal’s, and Nelson’s is critical for the team going forward.
- Another benefit of having a third line center like Pageau is that someone like Oliver Wahlstrom has a solid center to play with. Having a guy capable of contributing at both ends of the ice in all situations as a linemate is huge for Wahlstrom, and means he can be trusted with ice time in bigger moments than he might have been afforded with a more makeshift third line.
- And how about Sorokin’s record breaking night? First back to back shutouts for a rookie Isles goalie since Chico Resch in 1975, and first shutout for any Isles goalie against the Penguins since 1986. This guy might be good, friends.
Next, we get a break from teams in Black and Yellow/Gold as the Islanders take on the New Jersey Devils in Jersey on March 2nd. That game will be allowing select fans in, so I believe that’ll be our first taste of fans back in the building in the East Division.