The second-half resurgence that Zach Parise allegedly told his Islanders teammates about looks as though it’s coming earlier than anticipated.
The 37-year-old veteran winger scored the game-winning goal with 8:09 to go in regulation to lift the Islanders to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at UBS Arena.
Both he and Mathew Barzal each recorded a goal and an assist in the Islanders’ seventh win in their last nine outings while Brock Nelson added a pair of assists in the victory. For Parise, he’s recorded six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in his last eight games after recording just six points (1 goal, 5 assists) in his first 28 games of the season.
“It feels great to contribute,” Parise said. ” ost importantly, we got the two points that we really needed to get to keep climbing.”
Their heroics helped overturn an early Islanders 2-0 deficit to help bail out netminder Ilya Sorokin, who has done his fair share of saving the skins of his teammates throughout the 2021-22 campaign, as he made just 14 saves on 17 shots.
Just 57 seconds into the game, Claude Giroux threw a puck from the very corner of the boards along the goal line, which somehow snuck in between Sorokin’s feet at an impossible angle. His slow start didn’t get any better when the Flyers doubled their lead with 7:12 to go in the first. Justin Braun’s slapper from the right point caromed off Islanders defenseman Andy Greene’s skate and past the netminder.
“I’m sure that’s not the first goal that went in that way. He’s really mentally strong as a goaltender,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s played very, very well and I think he can handle those little adversity hits. We have a lot of trust in him and I think he’s a terrific goaltender.”
The Islanders began to turn the tide when Noah Dobson — one of the Islanders’ top offensive players despite being a defenseman — quickly got one back 49 seconds after Braun’s goal with a wrister that snuck its way through traffic and under Flyers goalie Martin Jones’ glove.
They would tie it with 1:45 to spare in the first when Barzal led a 2-on-1 rush with Anders Lee, saucering a puck to the Islanders’ captain, who batted it home for his 11th goal of the season. The play provided Barzal with his 194th career assist, moving into 20th in franchise history past Pierre Turgeon.
“There was no panic,” Trotz said. “We just chipped away and got ourselves back in the game.”
It was the very first shift that Barzal and Lee were playing on after Trotz opted to shuffle his lines entering Tuesday’s matchup — flexing Lee to the second line while Anthony Beauvillier moved up to the top trio.
“We’re trying to get everyone going here, ourselves included,” Lee said. “It got switched back up a little bit and we found ourselves back on the ice together and I think we had a pretty solid game after that. We’ll see if we can build on that moving forward.”
They took the lead 5:42 into the second period on the power play when some rare tic-tac-toe passing on the power play saw Parise deliver a pinpoint feed from the side of the net to Barzal, who was waiting at the opposite post to pop it over Jones.
“He’s playing his best hockey of the year so far,” Barzal said of Parise. “He’s getting rewarded.”
But in a period that the Islanders dominated — outshooting the Flyers 14-4 — they let the visitors hang around for too long. It immediately came back to bite them.
Just 1:30 into the third period, Gerry Mahew caught a deflection off Sorokin, skated around Dobson from the side of the net and fired a wrister from in close to tie the game.
As they had all night, though, the Islanders came up with an answer with 8:09 to go. Seconds after a Morgan Frost delay-of-game penalty expired, the Islanders carried that momentum on an odd-man rush that saw Beauvilllier drive down the middle of the ice off an outlet pass from Nelson, send a spinning back-handed feed to the right to Parise, who one-timed the chance high and true.
Tuesday night also featured history as Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle played in his 965th consecutive game, setting a new NHL record previously held by Montreal Canadiens and Hartford Whalers forward Doug Jarvis between 1975-1987.