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Islanders 2, Rangers 1: Sorokin shines in big win against rivals

Goals from Anders Lee and Kyle Palmieri win it for the Islanders, but Ilya Sorokin was the star, making incredible saves to keep the Isles in the game when they needed it.

New York Islanders v New York Rangers
Save of the year as far as I’m concerned.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Ilya Sorokin came into Madison Square Garden and stole the spotlight from the Russian goaltender at the other end of the rink, making dazzling saves en route to a 2-1 Islanders win.

The rest of the skaters in front of him were good, too, playing a close, competitive game against the high-scoring Rangers. Noah Dobson picked up another assist, and Anders Lee and Kyle Palmieri’s hot streaks continued, each of them netting a goal tonight.

In a season to forget, the Islanders put on a performance to remember against their biggest rivals.

[NHL Gamecenter | Natural Stat Trick | HockeyViz]

First Period

Well, the highlight of this period was The Save. Artemi Panarin got the puck from Frank Vatrano and had a wide open net waiting for him, but Ilya Sorokin wouldn’t let that happen.

Sorokin somehow managed to stretch out across the crease, and while on his back, got his stick out to block the shot, keeping Panarin off the board.

The Rangers had plenty of chances in the first though, with Sorokin’s play keeping the score at 0.

The Islanders would get the chance to strike first, though, when Barclay Goodrow was called for hooking Mat Barzal with a little over a minute left in the period. Brock Nelson had a good chance to score, but the power play would carry over into the second.

Second Period

At the very end of the power play, under a minute into the second, Noah Dobson got the puck to Barzal, who quickly passed the puck to Anders Lee in front, who scored to make it 1-0.

Adam Pelech was called for a fairly weak holding the stick penalty, but the Isles killed the penalty.

Sorokin saved a Chris Kreider shot, and both Sorokin and Igor Shesterkin traded saves as the game opened up. Kreider got a breakaway attempt, blowing by Zdeno Chara after Dobson flubbed a shot, but Sorokin came up big once again to keep it 1-0.

Scott Mayfield went to the box for interference for an extra hit he made on Vatrano, and on that power play, Kreider would net his 40th goal of the year to make it 1-1.

Ryan Strome was called for roughing Dobson a couple minutes later, and the Islanders had some good looks on that power play, registering three shots, before Nelson was called for interference on Mika Zibanejad (though Zibanejad’s crosscheck on Nelson would go ignored.) That call would give the Rangers about a minute of power play time, and they carried over 14 seconds of it into the third.

Third Period

The Islanders killed the Nelson penalty, and the score remained tied.

About halfway through the third, Alexis Lafreniere took a penalty for slashing, but the Rangers killed that.

Shesterkin made a big save on Dobson, and Sorokin needed to make a save after Barzal and Dobson got stuck on an extended shift following an icing.

Beauvillier and Lee had a two on one opportunity, but Shesterkin saved Beau’s shot. He also made a save on an Oliver Wahlstrom one timer, while Sorokin made a big save on a Panarin partial breakaway.

And then, the tiebreaker.

With just under three minutes left, Ryan Pulock got the puck to Kyle Palmieri, and he tipped it past Shesterkin to make it 2-1.

The Rangers pulled Shesterkin for an extra skater, and Cal Clutterbuck had a monster shift, wasting a ton of time by staying on the puck as he attempted to seal the game away with an empty netter. He never got it, but the Islanders came away from MSG with a big win.

Quick Thoughts

  • Give Sorokin save of the year right now.
  • Cal Clutterbuck is playing like a guy who wants to be in the playoffs. The Islanders should definitely be shopping him, he’s the kind of player teams love around this time of year, and shifts like that remind you that he can still be an effective player in a bottom six role.
  • This game was also a reminder that really, the Islanders should be in that hunt. They need to get a little younger and faster, but with a few good moves, those are fixes that can be made. This offseason is going to be critical for the success of this core going forward.
  • Most importantly, it always feels good to beat the Rangers.

Up Next

Next, the Islanders stay in New York but head back home to take on the Dallas Stars on Saturday afternoon. That’s apparently Nickelodeon Day, so that should be fun. It’s been a good stretch for the Islanders lately, let’s keep that going.