Ilya Sorokin #30 of the New York Islanders makes a...

Ilya Sorokin #30 of the New York Islanders makes a save during the second period under pressure from Connor Bedard #98 of Chicago at UBS Arena on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The chances came and went over the first 40 minutes and still Chicago, headed for the NHL Draft Lottery, held the lead. But the Islanders didn’t change their approach in the third period.

As a result, they may still yet head to the playoffs after rallying for a crucial 2-1 win on Tuesday night at UBS Arena against the tenacious visitors playing for nothing more than pride.
“It was a beautiful performance by our team today,” coach Patrick Roy said.

Beauty may indeed be in the eye of the beholder.

But the Islanders (33-27-15), winning the second game of a back-to-back set for the first time this season (1-6-3), moved within two points of the Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division with one game in hand. They are also within one point of the Capitals for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, though the Capitals have played one fewer game.

Ilya Sorokin made 18 saves in his first start in four games — his longest inactive stretch of the season — to earn his first win in seven starts.

“It feels good, the chance to play again and focus on what I can control,” said Sorokin, whose last win came on March 7.

Simon Holmstrom scored the winner off a scramble at the crease at 9:25 of the third period after being a healthy scratch the previous three games.

“It was nice, it’s no fun to sit out,” Holmstrom said. “It was a massive win, especially on a back-to-back as well. We really needed those two points.”

“We need all of these going down the stretch, no ifs, ands and buts about it,” said Bo Horvat, who tied it at 1-1 with a power-play shot from the slot at 1:33 of the third period after Philipp Kurashev was called for holding defenseman Adam Pelech just 10 seconds in. “We need to come in with the mindset that we need to win every game and every game is a playoff game from here on out.”

The Islanders were coming off Monday night’s 4-3 overtime win over the Flyers to conclude a 2-1-0 road trip. The Flyers sent that game to overtime with an equalizer with 9.6 seconds left in regulation.

But against Chicago, the Islanders killed off Mike Reilly’s holding penalty at 12:37 of the third period then did not allow a goal skating five-on-six after goalie Petr Mrazek (27 saves) was pulled for an extra skater.

Mrazek stopped all 24 shots he faced over the first two periods.

“I don’t think anything changed in our game,” Horvat said. “It was just a matter of it going in for us. I think that was what we prided ourselves on a lot tonight, was not changing the way we were going to play. We stuck to it and stuck to our system. We got rewarded for it tonight.”

Roy, looking for increased offensive production, moved Mathew Barzal back to right wing and reunited him with Horvat on the top line along with Casey Cizikas.

Roy also revamped his two power-play units, leaving defenseman Noah Dobson to skate with Horvat and Barzal along with newcomers Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Cizikas. He moved Kyle Palmieri and Brock Nelson to the other unit along with Anders Lee and defensemen Reilly and Ryan Pulock.

Chicago (22-48-5) took a 1-0 lead at 7:49 of the first period despite the Islanders’ strong pressure to start the game. Dobson lost the puck along the left wall in the offensive zone and No. 1 overall pick Connor Bedard — the likely Calder Trophy winner as the NHL’s top rookie playing his first game against the Islanders — fed Jason Dickinson to the crease on the rush with Cizikas just trailing the play.

Notes & quotes: Roy inserted defenseman Sebastian Aho for Robert Bortuzzo and Holmstrom for Hudson Fasching. Bortuzzo had played the last six games after missing 31 with an ankle injury. “Robert had a tough injury and we have a lot of games this week so we thought it would be good for him to have a day off,” Roy said . .  . Defenseman Samuel Bolduc and right wing Oliver Wahlstrom remained healthy scratches . . .Matt Martin fought Chicago defenseman Jarred Tinordi at 18:30 of the first period.

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