Nelson leads Islanders to 4th straight win, 3-1 over Blackhawks

Islanders Blackhawks Nelson Clutterbuck
New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks with right wing Cal Clutterbuck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

CHICAGO (AP) — Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist to lead the New York Islanders past the Blackhawks 3-1 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight win after Chicago starting goalie Alex Stalock left early in the first period with a potential concussion.

Anders Lee also scored and Zach Parise added an empty-netter for New York.

Ilya Sorokin made 21 saves and lost a bid for his second shutout in three starts when Jonathan Toews scored a power-play goal on a deflection midway through the third period.

The Islanders are on a roll after dropping three straight. They edged Chicago in a tight one after rallying from a three-goal deficit to beat defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado 5-4 on Saturday.

“We’re pleased with the progress,” New York coach Lane Lambert said. “It’s never perfect and you always strive for better or more, but you at this point we just have to move on to the next game and try to improve.”

Rookie Arvid Soderblom stopped 28 of 30 shots after Stalock exited, but the Blackhawks generated few chances against tight-checking New York as they dropped their fourth straight (0-2-2).

Nelson has four goals in three games after not scoring in his first seven. Sorokin has blocked 97 of the last 100 shots he’s faced over three games but credits his teammates.

“It’s good for the goalie when the whole team helps you and can stop the puck with their bodies,” Sorokin said.

Stalock exited just 2:56 into the first after he was rammed into the right goalpost by Casey Cizikas. Stalock was placed in concussion protocol and will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.

“I think they said they’re just going to let it settle for the night and see how he responds in the morning,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. “Right now, he’s probably out.”

The Blackhawks were already without top goaltender Petr Mrazek, who has a groin injury. Soderblom is the only other goalie the team has under contract, so Chicago is searching for another.

“I’m sure they have calls in right now to (AHL farm team) Rockford,” Richardson said. “I don’t know what they’re going to do, but that’s management’s job to figure it out.”

Stalock stopped Cizikas’ backhander as the forward cut in off the right wing. Cizikas didn’t slow down, colliding hard with Stalock and propelling him into the post.

He remained sprawled on the ice for a couple of minutes, then skated to the bench and was replaced by Soderblom.

Cizikas was assessed a major penalty for goalie interference and a game misconduct.

The Blackhawks generated little pressure and just four shots on the extended power play.

Lee put New York ahead 1-0 during a power play with 2:25 left in the period, swatting in a loose puck inches from the goal line for his fifth goal.

Kyle Palmieri’s shot off the point was blocked in the slot by defenseman Jake McCabe. Nelson poked the puck under Soderblom and then Lee, who was parked in front, put it in.

“On the power play we’ve talked about getting some better looks and getting one to go through,” Nelson said.

Nelson made it 2-0 at 7:23 of the third, beating Soderblom from the right circle.

Toews cut it to 2-1 at 3 minutes later with his sixth goal, deflecting in Caleb Jones’ shot as he cut through the slot. Toews has a six-game point streak, with four goals and two assists.

Parise sealed it with his empty-net goal with 14 seconds left.