Islanders' Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with teammates after scoring during...

Islanders' Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the shootout period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday, April 8, 2021. Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II

The Islanders surely will play better games with Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac now in their lineup.

But style points are not important in the standings, just points. So the dual debuts of the former Devils wound up successful.

The sluggish Islanders managed to move into sole possession of first place in the East Division by two points when Brock Nelson’s goal in the fifth round of the shootout gave them a 3-2 win over the Flyers on Thursday night before a sellout crowd of 1,400 at Nassau Coliseum.

"We found a way to get it to overtime and get the two points," said Jordan Eberle, who helped the Islanders build an early two-goal lead in the first period. "Sometimes you need to get away with one."

The Islanders (26-10-4), who acquired Palmieri and Zajac on Wednesday for a first-round pick this year, a conditional fourth-round pick in 2022 and minor-leaguers A.J. Greer and Mason Jobst, have won the first four games on this six-game homestand.

"In the last 24 hours there’s a lot of emotion," said Palmieri, like Zajac an impending unrestricted free agent. "But we got to meet everyone this morning and everyone was so welcoming. To be a part of a team like that that cares about each other and plays for each other, it was evident the second I walked into the locker room."

Ilya Sorokin made 25 saves and stopped all five shots in the shootout, clinching his fourth win over the Flyers by denying Joel Farabee. Nelson beat Carter Hart (21 saves) over his blocker for the lone goal in the shootout. It was the fifth time in seven games the teams have played past regulation.

The Islanders went 0-for-3 on the power play, including a five-minute advantage in the first period and a four-on-three for the final 1:58 of overtime.

"We weren’t very good," coach Barry Trotz said. "When they took the five-minute major, I thought our power play gave them a lot of momentum."

Trotz kept Palmieri and Zajac, linemates with the Devils, together with third-line center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Zajac moved from the middle to right wing and Palmieri shifted to the left side.

That allowed Trotz to keep his other lines intact, including keeping grinder Leo Komarov on top-line center Mathew Barzal’s left wing with Jordan Eberle. Palmieri played on a power-play unit with defenseman Nick Leddy, Josh Bailey, Nelson and Pageau. Zajac was used on the penalty kill.

"I think it was fine," Trotz said. "They’re really good people. They just want to contribute and fill in. I knew it would be a little bit difficult for them because it’s putting them in spots where they’re a little bit unfamiliar. Pager’s such a durable guy, he’s played with everybody and he communicates so well and has really good instincts. Figured if I could put them in and ease them in with that line, it’s less disruptive for all the other lines."

Nelson notched his team-leading 15th goal off defenseman Ryan Pulock’s feed to make it 1-0 at 6:10 of the first period. Eberle also connected from close range off Komarov’s feed 63 seconds later.

But the Islanders managed only three shots — and the Flyers had two shorthanded tries — after defenseman Samuel Morin was ejected for boarding Casey Cizikas at 7:27.

Then Nicolas Aube-Kubel cut the lead to 2-1 at 13:53 on an innocuous shot from above the right circle that Sorokin tried to direct into the corner with his blocker. The puck hit the shaft of his stick and deflected into the net.

Claude Giroux fed Jakub Voracek on a two-on-one rush to tie the score at 2 at 3:22 of the second period.

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