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Islanders Beat The Canadiens and Jets

Canadiens Islanders Highlights

The Islanders only played two games this week before Sunday. Both of those games happened in Canada, one against the reigning conference champion Montreal Canadiens and the other against the talented Winnipeg Jets. The Islanders beat the Canadiens and Jets in these two games. They won 5-2 against the Canadiens and 2-0 against the Jets. Here are the biggest highlights for the Islanders in these two games.

Brock Nelson

Canadiens Islanders Highlights


Courtesy of Sportsnet

Brock Nelson was easily the Islanders’ top star for these two games. Across the two games, Nelson had a total of five goals. Four of those five goals came in Thursday’s game against the Canadiens. On the first goal, Kyle Palmieri got the puck by two defenders set up Nelson right in front of Jake Allen. On the second, Nelson backhanded a rebound from Zdeno Chara in the net right after drawing an interference penalty. The hat trick goal had to be the most impressive of all of them. He scored on a two on one, taking a well-placed pass from Anthony Beauvillier and scoring from a backhand shot on the rush. He capped off the performance with an empty netter for his fourth. 

Nelson’s goal in Saturday’s game came in the third period for some much needed insurance to help the Islanders get the win. Brock Nelson heating up is terrific news for the Islanders. He’s one of the pillars of the team’s offense on the second line, leading the team in goals in the last two seasons. His strong play and aggressiveness will eventually also open up opportunities for his linemates in Palmieri and Beauvillier. 

Ilya Sorokin

Canadiens Islanders Highlights
Courtesy of The Canadian Press

Sorokin’s incredible run of goaltending performances continued in these two games. He made 36 saves on 38 shots in Montreal, and got a 24 save shutout against the Jets. This brings him to a total of just four goals allowed across his last five starts. In addition, his shutout of the Jets puts him second in the league for total shutouts, right behind Jacob Markstrom. Sorokin has been everything the Islanders hoped he would be this season. He’s been masterful in net so far and has aided the Islanders’ defensive game immensely. Although Semyon Varlamov is supposed to have the de facto starting role, that may no longer be the case. Sorokin’s elite level of play might force Barry Trotz’s hand to let him continue to start. Even if Trotz doesn’t give him the starting job, he’s at least forced his way into a true 50/50 split with Varlamov. The Islanders will be very happy to have the problem of two goalies playing quality hockey. 

Discipline

These two wins featured very disciplined play from the Islanders. In the Canadiens game, the team took only one penalty before the third period. Notably, during this span, the Islanders were effectively shutting out the Canadiens. Then a pair of bad penalties late by Cal Clutterbuck and Scott Mayfield allowed them to bring the game within three. Fortunately, the Islanders’ defensive discipline across the final minutes staved off any attempt of a full comeback. 

The game against the Jets was the ultimate sign of complete and total discipline. While protecting a slim lead, the Islanders took one penalty the entire game. And that penalty happened in the last five, well after the Islanders went up 2-0. But on top of staying out of the penalty box, the Islanders’ discipline on defense was fantastic. After starting the year playing very sloppy defense, the Islanders have been progressively finding their groove. They’re making smart choices with the puck, playing well on the forecheck and are in the right defensive positions more often than not. These games have proved how crucial disciplined play is to this team’s success. This trip to Canada proved that the team is headed in the right direction as they enter the final four games of their 13 game road trip.

Featured image courtesy of The Montreal Gazette

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