Both goalies had bounce-back performances after being pulled from their last outings. The Islanders’ Ilya Sorokin was just one save better in the shootout.
"It’s part of the game and he was fine," Anthony Beauvillier said of the highly touted rookie’s psyche. "He was stopping the puck in practice and we saw that tonight. He was huge for us. He was just Ilya out there, making great saves. He helped us get the win tonight."
So did Beauvillier. He scored twice as the Islanders earned a 3-2, four-round shootout win over the Flyers on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum before a sellout crowd of 1,400. They matched the Capitals — who have played one fewer game — atop the East Division with 52 points.
After the Flyers’ Claude Giroux erased the Islanders’ two-goal lead by scoring twice in the third period, Mathew Barzal scored the lone goal of the shootout. Sorokin (30 saves) then stopped Jakub Voracek to clinch the win for the Islanders (24-10-4), who opened this six-game homestand with an 8-4 win over the Capitals on Thursday night.
Coach Barry Trotz said winning in such disparate ways is a good sign.
"It says a lot about our team," Trotz said. "You have a big win over the Caps and we scored a lot of goals and you feel good about yourself a little bit. Sometimes you feel too good. And you’ve got a very desperate team in the Flyers who played extremely well. Those are hard games to win because you’re feeling really good about yourself but you’re also probably not as desperate as the other team."
It marked the fourth time this season the Islanders and Flyers have gone past regulation.
The Flyers had allowed 30 goals in their previous seven games (2-4-1), including a 6-1 loss in Buffalo on Wednesday as the Sabres snapped an 18-game losing streak. Carter Hart (22 saves) had been pulled from an 8-3 loss to the Rangers on March 25 after allowing five goals on 11 shots and coach Alain Vigneault kept him out of uniform the next three games so he could find his game through practice.
Sorokin allowed four goals on nine shots in a 6-3 loss in Pittsburgh the previous Saturday.
"I liked his performance a lot," Trotz said. "I thought he was really good when they got it tied 2-2. They had a couple of good looks and he looked very calm. He didn’t get small in the moment. And then in the shootout, he was outstanding. His pedigree and his track record over his professional career, he’s usually been a guy that bounces back. He’s got a really good temperament and has a really good skill set."
Sorokin, a five-time KHL all-star, denied Sean Couturier, Nolan Patrick and Giroux in the shootout before clinching the win by stopping Voracek.
The Islanders, who played the majority of the game down one forward after Ross Johnston exited at 2:47 of the first period, took a 1-0 lead on Beauvillier’s power-play goal at 12:01 of the first period off Matt Martin’s no-look backhand feed from the right post. It marked the first time in six games the Islanders had scored first.
Beauvillier, who has six goals in his last seven games, made it 2-0 from the slot at 15:40 of the second period off Barzal’s feed. Beauvillier stepped on the ice when Barzal’s left wing, Leo Komarov, lost his helmet and had to race to the bench.
"He played a heck of a game tonight," Barzal said. "It’s always fun watching him score, just a big smile. When he’s scoring and playing well, that’s a big boost for our team."
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