HOW IT HAPPENED
The NY Islanders and injury-depleted Colorado Avalanche battled for 65 minutes to a 0-0 tie, where the defending Stanley Cup Champions would take the extra point in the shootout. This game was most certainly a goalie battle, and neither side gave up any room for error. Ilya Sorokin stopped 46 shots Avalanche shots all game long, including 18 in the third period. Alexandar Georgiev stopped all three Islanders shooters, along with 26 shots in regulation to improve his record to 9-4 against the blue and orange in his career. Mikko Rantanen has had to carry much of the offensive load for the Avalanche with so many injuries up front, and he took every shot he could with 15 shot attempts, 10 of which were on goal.
In the shootout, rookie Simon Holmstrom was selected to shoot first for this Isles, which came as a surprise to many but head coach Lane Lambert "sees him as a good shootout guy." He beat Georgiev on a backhand to forehand move, but couldn't beat the post. Evan Rodrigues would pull off a similar move on Sorokin, but the head fake got him to bite and he tucked it in easily. Anthony Beauvillier looked like he had a chance to beat Georgiev at the top of the third, but the puck slid off of his stick and effectively ended the Islanders' chance to tie it.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Sorokin still has not been able to grab a win in the month of December, now losing his sixth straight game, but like most of those losses, it certainly was not his fault they lost. How could it be? He stopped all 46 shots he faced in regulation, and only allowed one goal in the shootout to Rodrigues who made a great move that would work on most goaltenders in the NHL. The wins may not be coming for him, but the Islanders certainly would not have come out of Denver with a point without his spectacular play.
"He played great and it was great to see. Fought through traffic. Fought through deflections and things like that. He was outstanding."- Lane Lambert on Sorokin
There weren't a lot of notable performances for the Islanders, but Noah Dobson was certainly the most trusted player put out on the ice. He had four shots on goal, most on the team while logging 26:35 of ice time along with two hits and two blocks. Oliver Wahlstrom led all Islanders players in hits with five, while only playing about 13 minutes.
WHAT WENT WRONG
As the score and shot totals per period would tell you, the Islanders just refused to shoot the puck. Whether it was them trying to set up a quality scoring chance on the power play or turning away from open ice in overtime, they simply did not test Georgiev enough. Even though they only had one power play all game, they were too passive and less willing to put shots on net. Mat Barzal specifically had a good chance to shoot after a quick deke to the slot in overtime but elected to pass to Beauvillier instead who lost his angle to get a shot away.
STATS OF THE GAME
- According to Eric Hornick in The Skinny, this was Sorokin's 13th career shutout (no goals allowed in regulation); he has made at least 44 saves in a game three times and all three have ended in shutouts.
- Noah Dobson played a career-high 26:35. It is the most ice time for any Islander since Ryan Pulock played 29:00 in a shootout loss to Montreal on November 5, 2018.
- The Isles allowed 92 shot attempts, the most in a game since Calgary had 94 on March 11, 2018. Since 2005, the Isles have allowed at least 92 shot attempts 12 different times, and they are 8-1-3 in those 12 games.
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
Cale Makar appeared to get tripped by Mat Barzal in the second period, but Makar decided to show good sportsmanship by telling the referee not to call a penalty due to him falling on his own. The referee did end up putting his arm down and took his decision back, resulting in no power play chance for the Avalanche. Tons of class shown by the former UMass defenseman.
The Islanders will finish off their five-game road trip by arriving home early but will face the New York Rangers at MSG on Thursday. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM.