Ilya Sorokin stopped 41 shots to buy the New York Islanders time to find their game on the way to a 3-0 shutout of the New York Rangers in the longtime rivals’ only meeting on Long Island this season.
Sorokin kept the game scoreless through a leaky first period, which allowed Kyle Palmieri’s second period goal to create hope, while Josh Bailey and Palmieri’s third-period goals made for a comfortable and festive final frame.
They were the first goals of the season for both forwards — for Bailey, it came in what would have been his 1,000th game but for the recent healthy scratch — though I’m not sure the game was an endorsement of the Isles’ latest line shuffle.
Oliver Wahlstrom and Mathew Barzal did show flashes of potential chemistry in their first game paired together, and of course Barzal’s incisive pass and Bailey’s good read and redirection were key to the goal that made it 2-0.
Palmieri’s goals were each from nearly the same spot in the slot — and the same space where he had a few good one-timer looks on power plays. But these were results of a quick release while finding loose pucks in heavy slot traffic. His second goal went in and out off the in-goal camera so fast that few on the ice realized it went in, requiring NHL war room intervention.
Old friend Jaroslav Halak was the victim, and his three goals allowed on 29 shots pales in contrast to Sorokin’s performance. But at least one of Palmieri’s goals was unreadable, and Bailey’s redirection was not on the Slovak.
Losing Streak Over
The win in a rivalry game — where all standings and trajectories are irrelevant — does not signal a cure for the concerns around the Islanders, but ending the three-game losing streak sure stops the bleeding.
The game was actually a bit sleepy for long stretches, maybe in part because of the series of power plays in the first and second. But the reward was delicious, a rough night for those who were long ago priced out of the Garden.
Nicely done, NHL-dot-com
- Early in the game, while the Islanders were a their flattest and most alarming, the Isles let Julien Gauthier get a head of steam through the neutral zone, made worse by him turnstiling Sebastian Aho for a chance in alone. But Sorokin stretched to make a brilliant save.
- Sorokin had at least a couple of other brilliant saves, stopping Kaapo Kakko on a similar chance after he weaved through everyone and then somehow keeping Mika Zabinejad from shoveling in a rebound on the scramble that followed, which had Sorokin doing the snow angel.
Impressive from Kakko. If he keeps at it, the scoring should come. pic.twitter.com/F1gyLpTsVf— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) October 27, 2022
- The penalty kill improved its record start to the season to 25-for-25.
- If you watched on TNT, in this game you had the pleasure of hearing Denis Potvin talk about the new “Potvin Socks” (get it?) product line, but also the curiosity of sounding like he halfway considered Mike Keenan’s solicitation to join the Rangers in the 1993-[redacted] season, six years after he retired. Also: Anson Carter singing the Josh Bailey song.
- Kieffer Bellows was put on waivers again today, with some speculation that it’s to make room for a Robin Salo recall. We’ll see.
Lane Lambert on Kieffer Bellows being put on waivers: "I'll leave that question for Lou." #Isles— Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) October 27, 2022
Another tough weekend looms: It’s off to Raleigh and the Hurricanes on Friday, then back home to face the Avalanche on Saturday.
What mood will we be in come Sunday?