Crack A Smile
Isles end 5-game winless streak with 4-1 win in DC
Good Morning, Islanders Country.
We all deserve to smile.
The Islanders have had to grin and bear a brutal season, but on Tuesday night their play and one play in particular from Casey Cizikas had them all beaming from ear to ear. They were able to crack a smile and break a five-game winless streak with an undermanned lineup against the 100-point playoff-bound Capitals.
Coming up, the Isles play with 17 skaters after Brock Nelson falls ill and Robin Salo is back with the varsity. Plus, why Ilya Sorokin should be in the Vezina conversation, Ray Ferraro lights the lamp four times in Landover, and vote for the best fan cave. But first, let’s recap last night’s feel-good win.
Let’s dive in.
🏒 IN SHORT: Playing with 17 skaters, the Islanders scored twice on the power-play and once short-handed to defeat the Washington Capitals 4-1 on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena. Ryan Pulock and Noah Dobson scored with the man-advance and Casey Cizikas added a highlight-reel shorthanded goal. Ilya Sorokin made 32 saves to help the Islanders (36-34-10) snap a five-game losing streak. Anders Lee scored his 27th of the season to move into a tie for 10th place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list. Alexander Ovechkin missed the game with an upper-body injury for the Capitals (44-24-12) who remain one point behind third-place Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division. Ilya Samsonov made 22 saves.
🔑 KEY MOMENT(s):
🔷 The Islanders trailed 1-0 after Kyle Palmieri’s latest disallowed goal and Conor Sheary scored for Washington. New York got even on the power-play when Ryan Pulock unloaded a 99.1 mph slap shot past Ilya Samsonov for his fifth of the year.
🔶 On the power-play, the Islanders received more offense from their defense as Noah Dobson scored his 13th goal of the season to break a 1-1 tie in the third period with this blistering one-timer off a feed from Josh Bailey.
🔷 There were more skillful goals scored this year, but none made you smile like this one from Casey Cizikas. Playing short-handed, Zeeker pressured the puck and was able to back-hand a goal on his backside against a pirouetting Samsonov.
❶ CHARACTER WIN: "It was a hell of a team win," Barry Trotz said. "Our room is hacking and coughing and there are a lot of guys sick and right now they're just battling through it. Give them a lot of credit, it was a good character win."
❷ GET THE LEGS GOING: "Just keep your shifts short, then start getting the legs going," Casey Cizikas said of playing down a center. "You know you're going get back out there that's the biggest thing, so don't let one shift bother you.”
❸ LOCKED AND LOADED: "Pulock isn't afraid to shoot it, which is good," said Barry Trotz. "I think earlier he was double-clutching it sometimes, those are double clutches when you get you don't get those flat passes and you're worried being the last man back, but guys delivered some good passes and he stepped into a couple and he was dangerous. and I thought he defended well and make good decisions and there's a real solid game from him."
⏭ NEXT UP: The Islanders and Washington Capitals conclude their home and home at UBS Arena on Thursday night.
📰 NEWS: Center JG Pageau returned to action after missing the previous three games in COVID-19 protocol. Anthony Beauvillier (upper-body) missed his fourth straight contest. Ilya Sorokin made his 51st start of the season. Emergency recall Otto Koivula was sent back to Bridgeport before the game after collecting one assist in three games back in the NHL.
◾️ Brock Nelson skated in the morning but was ruled out along with Zdeno Chara with a non-COVID-related illness. “He just got sick and he said, ‘I’m not going to be able to help,’” coach Barry Trotz said. “Our room is hacking and coughing and there’s a lot of guys sick.”
◾️Nelson’s absence was unexpected and forced the Islanders to play with 17 skaters (11 forwards, 6 defensemen). Robin Salo was emergency recalled from Bridgeport and was paired with Noah Dobson with Chara out.
◾️ The Bridgeport Islanders will meet Providence in the AHL’s best-of-3 first round next week, and the Islanders’ home game will be Wednesday night, May 4.
In a fascinating view on how to measure goaltending performance, Shayna Goldman in The Athletic, explains how Ilya Sorokin ranks higher in the Vezina race when taking a deeper look at advanced stat criteria including goals saved above expected, quality starts, and steals. For example, according to Sportlogiq, Shesterkin’s stopped 40.8 goals above expected in all situations. The next best in the league is Sorokin (18.9), followed by Saros (18.2), and Tristan Jarry (18.1). Andersen slides to fourth, at 16.7 goals saved above expected.
For Sorokin, the fact that the Islanders are out of playoff contention obviously plays into his standing for the Vezina too — but it certainly isn’t for a lack of trying on his end. There’s a difference between behind outstanding on a legitimate bottom-feeder and just playing on a team that falls short of the playoffs, despite their goalie’s efforts. The latter applies to him, and shouldn’t hold him out of this race.
📚 SOUND SMART: Per Eric Hornick in The Skinny, Anders Lee played in his 594th game, tying John Tonelli for 20th in club history, and then scored his 211th goal, tying Derek King for 10th in club history.
All three players wear/wore No. 27.
🗓 ISLE REMEMBER: On April 26, 1993, Al Iafrate scored three times, while Ray Ferraro had four goals in the Washington Capitals’ 6-4 win over the Islanders in Game 5 of the Patrick Division Semifinals. This was just the second playoff game where each team had a hat trick. “This is Ray's season right now," said Derek King after the game. The Islanders would close out the series in six games back at the Nassau Coliseum.
🔗 Islanders coach Barry Trotz on not being in playoffs: 'It's really strange' by Andrew Gross, Newsday “Even though the Islanders will miss the playoffs, this might have been Trotz’s hardest season in just trying to navigate the twists — expected and unexpected — that defined this season.”
🔗 Islanders King of Callbacks: All of Kyle Palmieri's called back goals in 2021-22 by Michel Anderson, Eyes on Isles “It's been a rough season for New York Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri. With 14 goals and 31 points on the year he's nowhere near where anyone thought he'd be in his first full year with the Islanders.”
And we leave you with this ….The Isles Nation Fan Cave Sweepstakes is happening now. Enter to win an Islanders team-signed jersey, other prizes or just to vote HERE
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