Sorokin’s 5th shutout leads Islanders to 4-0 win over Ducks
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Casey Cizikas had a goal and an assist, Ilya Sorokin made 34 saves for his fifth shutout of the season and the New York Islanders defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-0 on Sunday night.
Noah Dobson, Andy Greene and Kieffer Bellows also scored for the Islanders, who bounced back from a dispiriting 5-2 loss at the Los Angeles Kings a night earlier.
“Let’s just play the game,” coach Barry Trotz said. “Sometimes we try to force things that aren’t there, try to do too much, so let’s just play the game tonight.”
Islanders center Mathew Barzal and defenseman Zdeno Chara did not play after sustaining injuries against the Kings on Saturday. Barzal, who has a lower-body injury, and Chara, who has an upper-body injury, are both day-to-day, Trotz said before the game.
Anthony Stolarz allowed four goals on 22 shots for the Ducks, who were held scoreless for the fourth time.
“We’re not sneaking up on anybody anymore,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “They firmly know where our offense lies. It lies with a handful of guys.”
The Islanders led after the first period for the third time in 12 games in February, but they were in danger of getting off to another poor start when Max Comtois came charging in for a tip on net 1:52 into the game, only to have Sorokin slide across his crease to make the save.
“That was key to getting off to a good start and getting the lead, and it just continued on from there,” Cizikas said, “’Soro’ made some massive saves when we needed him to … They had a couple Grade A’s and he came up big.”
Dobson put New York up 1-0 with 6:19 left in the first as his slap shot from the right point through traffic went in after deflecting off Anaheim defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. The third-year defenseman has found his offensive touch of late with three goals and five assists in his past eight games.
Cizikas made it 2-0 just 1:33 into the second, burying Ross Johnston’s pass on an odd-man rush as the Ducks were facing a delayed penalty for too many men on the ice following a sloppy line change.
Greene extended the lead to 3-0 with 8:17 left in the third. He scored on a wrist shot from the left circle, set up by Johnston, who had two assists for the first time.
Bellows scored on a breakaway with 4:56 remaining.
“We wanted to go out there and we wanted to compete as a team, and I thought we did that tonight,” Cizikas said. “We had all lines rolling.”
Anaheim has lost in regulation in five of its last seven games, blunting its surprising push to reach the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. The Ducks are two points behind Dallas for the second wild card in the Western Conference and trail Vegas by three points for third in the Pacific Division.
“We wanted to come out today and kind of get our mojo back on home ice, and you have to give credit to them and their goaltender,” Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler said. “They found a way to get it done, but I don’t think frustration is going to do us a whole lot of good right now. We have to continue to stand by one another and there’s still a lot of hockey left this season, so we have to make sure that we come in and put the work in to turn this around.”
Cizikas scored on his 31st birthday, one of four Islanders to do so in the past 15 years. Cal Clutterbuck, who had the secondary assist, is part of that group having found the back of the net in 2014. The others were Tim Jackman in 2009 and Mark Streit in 2008.
The Ducks’ slide started coming out of the All-Star break, which Fowler said isn’t a coincidence given how the style of play starts to change at this time of the season.
“It becomes a little bit more like playoff hockey every night, and there’s nothing that can replicate playoff hockey, but it’s evident in the way teams are playing and the desperation, and so we have to make sure that we’re prepared for that,” Fowler said.
NOTES: Johnston’s first multipoint game came in his 100th NHL appearance. He had been a healthy scratch for the previous six contests. … Islanders D Sebastian Aho had an assist for the fifth straight game. … Ducks G John Gibson was not available because of a non-COVID-19 illness. Lukas Dostal was recalled from the AHL to backup Stolarz. … Ducks C Adam Henrique (illness) also missed the game.
Islanders: At Colorado on Tuesday night.
Ducks: Host Boston on Tuesday night.
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