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Kraken defeat Islanders, move into tie atop Western wild-card race

Dec 29, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) celebrates the goal by center Mathew Barzal (13) against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Eeli Tolvanen scored in his Seattle debut as the host Kraken defeated the New York Islanders 4-1 Sunday night.

Adam Larsson, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Brandon Tanev also tallied for Seattle, which snapped a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) and moved into a tie with the Edmonton Oilers atop the NHL’s Western Conference wild-card playoff race. Goaltender Martin Jones made 18 saves.

Mathew Barzal scored for the Islanders, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Ilya Sorokin stopped 31 of 34 shots in the opener of New York’s four-game trip that will include stops in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.

The Kraken opened the scoring at 9:53 of the first period. Daniel Sprong lifted the puck deep into the Islanders’ end and Ryan Donato gained control behind the net. Donato looked like he was going to attempt a wraparound shot, but instead passed to defenseman Larsson, who had joined the rush, for a one-timer from the slot that beat Sorokin.

The Islanders tied it at 17:30 on Barzal’s 100th career goal. He skated the puck over the blue line before dropping a pass for Casey Cizikas along the left-wing boards. Barzal continued toward the net, took a return pass and slid the puck under Jones’ left leg pad. It was a homecoming for Barzal, who played his junior days with the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds.

Tolvanen, picked up off waivers from Nashville on Dec. 12, broke the tie with a power-play goal at 3:58 of the second. Tolvanen took a pass from Vince Dunn and blasted a one-timer past Sorokin from the top of the right faceoff circle.

The Kraken extended the lead at 13:04 of the second. Jamie Oleksiak’s shot from the right point was stopped by Sorokin but Bjorkstrand pounced on the rebound and put it over the prone goalie.

Tanev added an empty-net goal at 19:25 of the third.

The Kraken will open a seven-game trip Tuesday at Edmonton before heading to the East Coast.

–Field Level Media