Three Biggest Moments in The Islanders Win Over Coyotes

ELMONT, NY - JANUARY 21: New York Islanders Center Brock Nelson (29) takes a shot on goal and scores during the third period of the National Hockey League game between the Arizona Coyotes and the New York Islanders on January 21, 2022, at UBS Arena in Elmont, NY. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The New York Islanders beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-0 on home ice Friday night. The Islanders are slowly climbing up in the standings, as they have won six of their last seven games. Against the Coyotes, the Islanders forecheck shined, as Arizona could only muster 17 shots. The Isles offense constantly created open space, and Brock Nelson blasted home two goals in the win. Ilya Sorokin posted his 4th shutout of the season. The Islanders have leapfrogged over the Devils and Flyers in the Metropolitan Division standings and are now three points behind the fifth-place Colombus Blue Jackets with five games in hand. As the Islanders are rallying to contend, let’s look at the three biggest moments from Friday’s game.

Islanders Forecheck Stuns Coyotes

Giveaways, giveaways, giveaways. That’s what happened in neutral ice throughout the game. Both the Islanders and Coyotes fought with loose pucks near center ice, with the Islanders’ forecheck creating chances from turnovers. The Coyotes also played strong in this area, but the Islanders gained more procession time and caused more pressure from their own forecheck.

Defensively, the Islanders made it difficult for Coyotes scorers to get anything on net. Oliver Wahlstrom turned over the puck in his own zone when a Coyote player stole his weak pass. Wahlstrom stayed strong and blocked two shots before the Islanders’ defense recovered and cleared the zone. He then did not see any playing time in the third period.

“They are good at playing the trap game, so it’s hard to get back into it after that,” Coyotes defenseman Dysin Mayo told ESPN.

The Coyotes had another solid chance to score when Zdeno Chara misplayed a puck, creating a two-on-one. Casey Cizikas snuffed it out when he turned on the jets and broke the play up in front of the net.

“It was really tough to create offense against them,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said.

Matt Martin Fights

After throwing a big hit on Coyote defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin, Martin dropped the gloves with Liam O’Brien. Martin and O’Brien fought back in October during the first meeting of these two teams. Besides a few body shots by O’Brien, the fight was a stalemate, and the Coyotes forward challenged Martin to get the Coyotes going. Both men were sent to the locker room instead of the penalty box because there were less than five minutes left in the period. O’Brien was waving his arms up and down as a way to say ‘let’s go’ and motivate his team. The Coyotes were already down 2-0 with 1:58 remaining in the first.

However, the Coyotes never really got going, and after the fight, the Islanders began to control the game. The second period consisted of a dump-and-chase strategy by the Isles backed by a fierce forecheck that kept Arizona away from the offensive zone. This strategy involves keeping the game moving and not getting any whistles. The point is to force the Coyotes to have broken line changes so they can’t advance up ice. While the third period got a little more wide open for Arizona, the Islanders were able to counter with two goals and essentially ice the game.

Brock Scores Twice

In the third period, Brock Nelson scored two goals to notch his team-leading 12th and 13th on the year. His first goal came in the first two minutes of the period when a cross-ice pass from Adam Pelech created a two-on-on in the Coyotes’ zone. Nelson had the option to pass to Anthony Beauvillier, but Coyotes defenceman Janis Moser slid to the left to take the pass away. This left Nelson alone in the slot, and he wristed a shot past goalie Scott Wedgewood.

The second goal came on an Islanders rush headed by Josh Bailey. Bailey intercepted a pass from Phil Kessel at the top of the zone, then entered with Beauvillier and Nelson trailing. Bailey passed to Beauvillier, who sent the puck to the net. Nelson was taken down from behind as he charged the net, and the pass from Beauvillier went off Nelson’s body and into the net. The play warranted a review from the referees as Nelson went crashing into Wedgewood. After the review, the refs confirmed the goal, and the Coyotes bench didn’t use their coach’s challenge.

What’s Next?

The Islanders will face John Tavares and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. This will be their second matchup of the season. The Isles lost 3-0 to the Leafs in the second home game at UBS Arena. Most of the Islanders lineup missed that game due to Covid protocols. The Islanders will look to win their fourth straight game and seventh in their last eight.

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