Goals have been scarce for the Islanders.
But one is enough when rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin plays the way he did on Sunday night in Philadelphia.
"We don’t win that hockey game if he doesn’t have that first period that he did," coach Barry Trotz said after the Islanders’ 1-0 overtime victory over the Flyers. "We were slow out of the gates. We weren’t sharp. We weren’t committed to the battle. You need your goaltender to sometimes steal you a game, and I thought he stole it in the first for us."
Defenseman Nick Leddy’s attempted centering feed deflected in off the stick of Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim at 2:23 of overtime before a crowd of 3,603 at Wells Fargo Center.
Leddy’s tally snapped the Islanders’ goal drought at 159:29.
"Did we play our best? I don’t think so," said Leddy, who then was asked how much credit Sorokin deserved.
"Pretty much all of it,’’ he said. "He was outstanding."
The Islanders (28-13-4) leapfrogged the Penguins by one point back into second place in the East Division. They are two points behind the Capitals, whom they will play three times in their next six games.
Sorokin made 30 saves — 23 in the first two periods — for his third shutout this season and fifth straight win over the Flyers. He had made 25 saves in Friday night’s 3-0 loss as the Bruins swept a two-game series in Boston.
"It’s all about how you feel in your physical condition," said Sorokin, who started consecutive games for the second time this season. "If you’re tired, it’s hard two games in a row. I feel good. Can play more."
The Flyers’ Brian Elliott was nearly as good, stopping 27 shots, including 13 in the third period.
The Islanders, who again played without injured forwards Josh Bailey and Cal Clutterbuck, have scored one or fewer goals in three straight games and four of their last five. They’ve scored two or fewer goals in seven of their last eight games.
They went 0-for-2 on the power play — both in the third period — and are 1-for-19 in their last seven games. Sorokin bailed out Jordan Eberle on the Islanders’ second power play, stopping Sean Couturier’s shorthanded breakaway at 7:31 after Eberle’s turnover at the Flyers’ blue line.
"We’ve got to look at understanding we’ve got to be better," defenseman Ryan Pulock said. "You can’t win like that every night. At the same time, we didn’t really roll over. We kept with it and found a way to get a little bit of our game in the third and it helped to getting a win."
Sorokin navigated the Islanders out of another sleepy first period, though not nearly as bad as Thursday’s dud, when the Bruins outshot them 23-7 and went on to a 4-1 win. He was forced to make a tough save on an in-tight Kevin Hayes at 1:26 and later used his right pad to deny Sanheim on the rush at 15:45 as he stopped all eight shots in the opening period.
The Islanders didn’t get their first shot until defenseman Adam Pelech skated the puck low in the Flyers’ zone to set up Michael Dal Colle’s attempt at 10:12 of the first period.
"When you have shots, you can feel you’re confident and you can feel your game," Sorokin said. "[It’s] helping you in the future. In the second period, there was a ton of shots. I feel OK."
The Islanders started to get more chances in the second period. Casey Cizikas, coming out of the penalty box, slid the puck through Elliott’s pads, but it deflected just wide of the right post at 3:46.
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