HOW IT HAPPENED
This was a classic gritty, hard-nosed, and suffocating NY Islanders win that fans are so used to seeing, as they took down the visiting Arizona Coyotes 1-0 at UBS Arena to remain undefeated. Mat Barzal scored the game's only goal on a power play one-timer, the first goal on the man advantage for New York in 2023-24. Kyle Palmieri and Noah Dobson picked up the assists on the second-period goal, the first point of the season for Dobson and the second for Palmieri. Ilya Sorokin earned his first shutout of the season while making 14 saves, and on the other end, Karel Vejmelka made 33 saves on 34 shots for Arizona.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Sorokin only had to face 14 shots on goal during this game, but throughout the game made difficult saves look easy. Or, maybe it is just easy for him. Regardless, the defense did a great job in front of him, deflecting many Coyotes' shots out of play or out of the way, making Sorokin's job on Tuesday night much easier. They also were more physical than they were in their previous game against the Buffalo Sabres, which Arizona did not match besides a small scrum between Jason Zucker and Alexander Romanov after the whistle. The Isles also kept the Coyotes trapped in their own defensive zone, which allowed them to register 34 shots on goal and keep Arizona from establishing any sort of presence in the Islanders' zone.
WHAT WENT WRONG
It's hard to ask for more from a team when they come away with a win and have yet to lose this season, but it won't be a good reception from Isles fans if they continue to rely on winning low-scoring games. The blue and orange did have a few good looks in front of Vejmelka, however, the offense has yet to really get going this season with four goals in the first two games. We saw plenty of criticism come the way of Bo Horvat after going on a bit of an offensive slump near the end of the season when the Islanders struggled to score goals without Barzal due to injury. Luckily for them, their dynamic playmaker is healthy and was able to score his first of a potentially strong season. GM Lou Lamoriello chose not to improve the roster externally during the free agency period, and Lane Lambert is electing to scratch Oliver Wahlstrom to start the season even though he has great shooting ability. The Islanders will certainly need to score more than one goal to win games consistently in a loaded Eastern Conference and they can't count on 20-goal-scorer Zach Parise to walk through the door.
STATS OF THE GAME
According to Stefan Rosner on NHL.com, Sorokin with his 17 NHL shutout passes Rick DiPietro for third place in Islanders history, only behind Billy Smith and Chico Resch. Matt Martin also played in his 900th NHL game, finishing with two hits in just 7:39 of ice time.
According to Eric Hornick, Scott Mayfield played in every single game last season but did not play against the Coyotes due to a lower-body injury, ending his consecutive game streak at 83.
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
It's rare that we see a TV network's social media account poke fun at a penalty being called, but Barzal got called for a holding penalty and got sent to the box even though he was nowhere near the play. Simon Holmstrom was the true culprit and keeps his record clean as he does not have any penalty minutes in his NHL career. Barzal joked with MSG's Shannon Hogan during the second intermission that was glad he went to the box instead because Holmstrom kills penalties and he does not.
The Isles will play the last game of their season-opening homestand when they host the New Jersey Devils on Friday night. Puck drop is at 7:30 PM.