It was the first game for Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac with the New York Islanders. Both showed up (and clean-shaven). The addition of the two should have given the Isles a bounce but it did very little.
The team was flat after the opening half of the first period and never really got back into it. Perhaps there’s a psychological element to this. Maybe the acquisitions added some complacency to the team?
Whatever it was, they ended up getting the job done and getting the two points in a shootout. They now sit at the top of the East Division and fifth in the NHL (one point off the top spot in the league) with 56 points from 40 games. That’s a 115 point pace by the way.
Here are your three winners and losers from the night.
New York Islanders take two points in shootout against Philadelphia Flyers
Brock Nelson (1G, 1SOG, SO Winner): Nice little bookend type of day for Brock Nelson. Not only does he start the scoring off a nice setup from Ryan Pulock, but he caps it all off with the shootout winner as well.
Nelson leads the team with 15 goals for the year. With 40 games played now, Nelson is on pace for a 31 goal season.
Ilya Sorokin (2GA, 25 Saves, 0.926SV%): Flukie goal? Or Dumb mistake? The Flyers first goal was a really bad one for the rookie Russian goalie, but man Ilya Sorokin made up for it the rest of the way. Specifically in the shootout.
Ryan Pulock (1A, 1SOG, 1.34 GS): The isles rear-guard had the team’s top game score on the day yet again. Pulock was crucial for the Isles, not only by setting up that Nelson goal, but for his defensive play all night long.
He may not score a goal this year but who cares if he’s playing this well?
The Power Play: The Islanders had a full five minutes of power-play time immediately after going up 2-0. A goal could have put the game to bed early. Instead, the Islanders absolutely fumbled the opportunity.
The Flyers had three shots to the Isles four. The kill gave the Flyers some life and brought them right back into this game that would go the distance.
Josh Bailey (1 GVA, 0.01 GS): Only Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin had a lower game score than Josh Bailey. His play on the power-play was particularly brutal. Josh holds onto the puck just way too long.
To be fair, his teammates aren’t helping him by staying as stationary as they are, but man. Move the puck Josh.
Noah Dobson (-1.27 GS): Not a good day for Noah Dobson today. I’m sure he’s still getting his legs under him after that COVID break. Ideally, he gets back to his regular self soon enough.