There were plenty of choices for the best aspect of the Islanders’ latest win.
The candidates: Ilya Sorokin’s career-high 49 saves; Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s special teams production; the penalty kill; the defensive structure limiting time and space to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl; the sustained 60-minute effort.
The answer: All of the above in a 3-0 victory over the Oilers on Wednesday night at UBS Arena.
“Good game,” goalie Ilya Sorokin said. “For me. For us. For our team.”
Pageau scored on both the power play and shorthanded as the Islanders (13-8-0) won their second straight and for 11th time in 15 games. They went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill despite the Oilers (10-10-0) having the second-ranked power play in the NHL and taking 14 man-advantage shots.
“I thought we were very committed to playing the right way,” coach Lane Lambert said. “Defending. We had a lot of guys who played very well tonight.
“Our goaltender played really well and made some big saves. We had some big blocks . Some of those [power-play] shots that came in didn’t get through.”
Jack Campbell (27 saves) started for the Oilers despite having his nose broken by a puck as he sat on the bench during Monday’s 5-2 road loss to the Devils. He has a too-high 4.15 goals-against average and a too-low.876 save percentage and simply wasn’t as good as Sorokin.
“I think both goaltenders gave their teams chances to win,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. “What this game came down to is we were unable to solve their goaltender. Pouring  shots on someone, that’s what we set out to do every game.”
Still, Campbell kept the Oilers in it until Pageau shifted the game’s tenor within a second-period span of two minutes, six seconds.
Anthony Beauvillier was called for an offensive-zone slash on defenseman Darnell Nurse at 4:11, giving the potent Oilers’ power play its first chance.
But defenseman Adam Pelech started a shorthanded rush in the defensive zone and Zach Parise, skating up the left wall, found Pageau cutting to the crease for a 1-0 lead at 4:33. Defenseman Tyson Barrie kept the Islanders from another shorthanded rush as he held Cal Clutterbuck at 5:21, negating the final 51 seconds of the Oilers’ power play.
Pageau then made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 6:39. Pageau was actually trying to feed a cutting Anders Lee to the crease but his pass deflected in off the stick of Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard.
“It’s definitely fun to help the team offensively,” said Pageau, who had three goals entering the game but now has four in five games. “I thought we showed up tonight. We knew we had a big challenge. We played with urgency for the full 60 and Sorokin was, again, outstanding. I think we were very happy just to be back home after a road trip.”
The Islanders concluded a 2-2-0 trek by rallying for a 3-2 overtime win in Toronto on Monday night.
Sebastian Aho made it 3-0 from below the left circle at 16:56 of the second period after Oliver Wahlstrom controlled the puck behind the crease and found the defenseman open.
The Islanders’ strong start in the first period — they took the first seven shots — was the foundation for their three-goal second period. Three of their penalty kills came in the third period.
Said Cal Clutterbuck, who logged 4:07 shorthanded, “When you get three kills in the third period with a team down 3-0 trying to press with two of the best offensive players in the world, [Sorokin] was there for every second of it.”