Boy, did the Islanders need that one. After falling behind in the series 2-1, the Islanders desperately needed a better performance in Game 4 and that’s exactly what they got.
Before the game, Barry Trotz hinted at a goalie change, and he ended up going with rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin today. It proved to be the correct decision, as he was good all game long for New York. The first period was a completely different story for the Islanders today.
Normally, they’ve been starting slow and coming on too little too late. Not today. Shots were even and no goals were scored in the period, but they looked much more engaged by the eye test. The Islanders would have a couple of power play opportunities early due to some Evgeni Malkin anger.
Cal Clutterbuck got under his skin early and he ended up taking three penalties on the day. More on that later.
In period two, the Islanders once again came out strong and this time it paid off with a goal from Josh Bailey.
What a play from Brock Nelson down low and a good job from Bailey getting a puck on net. Just over six minutes later, the Isles would get another one. This time, it was from Ryan Pulock on the blue line.
Good things happen when you get pucks on net! There were numerous times earlier in the period where Mathew Barzal had shots and elected to give them up. Here was a perfect example of good things that can happen when you put pucks on net.
In period number three, the Islanders would get blessed with a power play opportunity. Initially, there was a bogus holding call against Scott Mayfield but it was quickly negated by both Jason Zucker and Kris Letang.
On the man advantage, Oliver Wahlstrom put one on net and the rebound ended up going off of Teddy Blueger and in to give the Isles a 3-0 lead.
Wahlstrom was good today, and while it wasn’t a pretty goal it was a well-deserved one for his efforts. 24 seconds later, still on the power play, Jordan Eberle would add his first of the playoffs for a 4-0 Islanders lead.
Unfortunately, the shutout was lost with just 2:35 left in the game when Zach Aston-Reese would beat Ilya Sorokin short-handed. Yes, it was one Ilya Sorokin would want back (it hit off of his glove and he left a juicy rebound) but overall the kid was great today.
The Isles took Game 4 by a score of 4-1 and will be in Pittsburgh on Monday for Game 5. I think we all know who will be in net for that one.
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Today’s winners: Ilya Sorokin, Oliver Wahlstrom, Ryan Pulock
Today’s losers: Evgeni Malkin, Tristain Jarry, Kris Letang