Ilya Sorokin stopped all 23 shots he faced Friday night and the struggling New York Islanders snapped a pair of lengthy droughts by defeating the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 in Elmont, N.Y.
Anders Lee scored in the second period and Brock Nelson added an insurance goal in the third for the Islanders — their first third-period goal in 11 games dating back to Jan. 3, when New York scored three times in the final 20 minutes of a 6-2 win over the host Vancouver Canucks.
The win ended a six-game losing streak (0-4-2) for the Islanders, who are 3-8-3 this month. New York entered Friday six points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The shutout was Sorokin’s fourth of the season and the 14th in 109 career starts. Kyle Palmieri assisted on both goals.
Magnus Hellberg recorded 26 saves for the Red Wings, who sit in 12th place in the East in the East.
After a scoreless first period, the slumping Islanders notched their first goal in quirky fashion 4:44 into the second.
Lee’s clearing pass off the back boards hit referee Ghislain Hebert and was picked up by Red Wings defenseman Olli Maatta. But Nelson, looking up the ice, put his stick up and deflected Maatta’s pass. Nelson collected the puck and skated into the right faceoff circle before firing a shot that glanced off teammate Kyle Palmieri’s stick and off of the stick of Lee — who was on his stomach with Detroit defenseman Gustav Lindstrom on top of him –before going under Hellberg’s legs.
Another turnover deep in the Red Wings’ zone led to the Islanders’ long-awaited third-period goal. Detroit’s Jonatan Berggren backhanded a pass along the side boards, but the puck skittered as Berggren was checked by Ryan Pulock. Palmieri gathered the puck and passed to Nelson, who headed to the high slot and sent a shot that sailed past Hellberg as he was screened by Lee and Lindstrom at the 4:31 mark.
Sorokin made his most impressive save about 30 seconds later, when he sprawled to deflect a shot by Filip Hronek. Hellberg was pulled with a little under 3:30 left, but Detroit didn’t mount a serious threat.
–Field Level Media