Sorokin, Islanders defeat Rangers to extend point streak to five games

NEW YORK — Ilya Sorokin made 29 saves, Kyle Palmieri scored with 2:44 remaining in the third period, and the New York Islanders extended their point streak to five games with a 2-1 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

Palmieri scored from the top of the crease when he batted Ryan Pulock‘s pass out of the air and over the glove of Igor Shesterkin.

“I just ended up at the net front and [Pulock] made a great play getting it there, and the tip happened to go in,” Palmieri said.

Video: NYI@NYR: Palmieri puts Islanders ahead late in 3rd

Pulock was initially attempting to get the puck to Matt Martin on the goal line, but his pass was deflected by Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren. Pulock then collected the loose puck and quickly found Palmieri open in the slot because Adam Fox vacated the area in anticipation of the pass to Martin.

“It was a funny rush,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “It was an unfortunate bounce for us.”

Anders Lee scored for the sixth straight game for the Islanders (25-24-9), who are 4-0-1 in their past five games.

“I just thought it was a [heck] of a hockey game, both teams,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “That was as fast as you’re going to see it, especially the first period. You saw unbelievable goalstending on both sides. You saw commitment on both sides. You saw a good rivalry game.

“I’m going to say it was the most fun game of the year.”

Chris Creeder scored his 40th goal of the season, and Shesterkin made 26 saves for the Rangers (38-18-5), who had won their past two games.

“I thought we played great,” Gallant said. “From start to finish I thought we played a great hockey game. Disappointing to lose 2-1, but you play like that most nights you’ll get success.”

Kreider tied the game 1-1 at 13:38 of the second period with his NHL-leading 21st power-play goal of the season. He scored off the rush with a shot short side from the left circle that went over Sorokin’s right pad and under his blocker.

Video: NYI@NYR: Kreider reaches 40-goal mark on power play

Lee scored 49 seconds into the second to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead. Noah Dobson moved the puck from the left point down below the left circle to Mathew Barzalwho one-timed a pass to Lee at the left hash marks, and Lee then one-timed the puck glove side on Shesterkin with one second remaining in a power play.

Lee has scored nine goals during his streak.

“Just getting open, the boys finding my stick a little bit, and getting shots that I like and seeing them go in,” Lee said. “It’s finding your spots and you start to roll and keep those good feelings going.”

Lee is a little more than a year removed from tearing his ACL in a game against the New Jersey Devils on March 11, 2021.

“He’s got that confidence, he’s got his quickness back in that small area where he’s real strong,” Trotz said. “He’s surrounding the puck, getting leverage and he’s doing some good things.”

Sorokin made 12 saves in the first period, including a highlight-reel stop with his stick on Artemi Panarin at 5:22. Panarin had an open net from the left circle, but the Islanders goalie reached back and stopped the puck mid-air with the paddle of his stick.

“Holy, yes,” Trotz said. “It might have been one of the best, if not the best, save I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve been around a long time. But it doesn’t surprise me. He’s capable of it and he’s showing reasons. He’s so athletic. Nothing surprises me with him.”

Said Lee, “I think he’s really settled in lately, dialed in. When we see his confidence and see the saves he’s making, it gives us an opportunity every night. It’s all you can ask for from him. Tonight is one. As tight as it was, he helped steal that for us.”

Video: NYI@NYR: Sorokin stops Panarin with diving stick save

Sorokin also stopped Kreider on a breakaway at 10:34 of the second.

“I’ll take the effort we had tonight,” Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba said. “We don’t like the result, but I’ll take that over not a lot but some of the wins we had this year with the game we played. There’s a lot we can take from this game.”

NOTES: Frank Vatran made his debut with the Rangers after the forward was acquired in a trade from the Florida Panthers on Wednesday. Vatrano played 14:47 and had one shot on goal and one blocked shot, skating on a line with Panarin and Ryan Strom. … Palmieri has points in six straight games (four goals, three assists), matching his career-long scoring streak. … The Rangers have scored a power-play goal in four straight games. … Dobson has scored nine points (one goal, eight assists) in his past eight games.

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