Anders Lee recorded the 1st hat trick of his NHL career, Ilya Sorokin notched his ninth shutout in just 60 career games (and sixth of the season), as the New York Islanders cruised to a 6-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
While it was a blowout and the Islanders were clearly the better team on the night, Sorokin definitely earned his shutout, stopping multiple breakaway and in-tight chances among 25 saves.
But the Isles entered the third leading 4-0 and absolutely shut the door, outshooting the visitors 12-3 in the third.
For Lee, who completed his hat trick on the power play with under two seconds left in the game, it was a long-awaited breakthrough as he’d reportedly had the most career two-goal games (29) in the league without getting hats thrown to the ice.
That changed tonight, and the smiles from the captain and teammates put a nice bow on the evening.
Other significant notes:
- Brock Nelson opened scoring on the power play in the first period with his 22nd goal of the season. In 45 games.
- Josh Bailey scored for the first time in 19 games. It was his fourth(!) of the season.
- Casey Cizikas took four minor penalties. That’s a lot of feeling shame. Also, in my men’s league that gets you ejected, but thankfully Cizikas plays in the NHL, which is a slightly higher caliber. (Cizikas drew the late penalty that created a power play for Lee’s third goal.)
- No problem though: The Isles killed each of those penalties and five overall. They also added a 3-on-4 shorthanded goal (on a Sebastian Aho penalty, not Cizikas) by J-G Pageau that fully put the game away, making it 4-0 late in the second period.
- Kieffer Bellows was scratched and Otto Koivula got another turn, playing 11:11. I swear Koivula has the most anonymous appearances. No shots registered, three faceoffs won and three faceoffs lost. It doesn’t feel like the Isles put much stock in Koivula’s future but it’s hard to tell and he’s hard to evaluate in limited minutes.
- Zdeno Chara is nearing a return and may be ready tomorrow. Does Aho’s run end, or does Andy Greene get shelved again?
Lee’s final goal was kind of funny. He said “the puck found [him]” all night and this was one of those occasions. Joonas Korpisalo, returning from a long injury absence, kind of said, “I’ve done enough here” on the play and was to the side of the crease when the rebound went to Lee:
With 2 seconds left in the third, The Captain got his first hat trick.— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 11, 2022
Listen to the call ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/47kivHtR3x
Thus Spaketh Coach Trotz
Barry Trotz sounded happy to be able to discuss happy things, including Lee’s hat trick and the joy others felt for him:
“I think Anders is very respected in that room and they were very happy for him. I don’t think there was a person there that wasn’t happy for him.”— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 11, 2022
Trotz ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/OOj5mrawOE
The Isles are back at it again Friday night with the Jets visiting. Not the J-E-T-S but the W-I-N-N-I-P-E-G ones.