NEW YORK (AP) — Simon Holmstrom scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and Ilya Sorokin made 24 saves to lead the New York Islanders to a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night.
Sebastian Aho also scored for New York, which won for the third time in four games and extended its winning streak against Winnipeg to six games, dating to March 28, 2019.
“Everyone is recognizing that we are short a lot of bodies and everyone is committed to doing what you have to do to win the game,” veteran forward Zach Parise said.
Connor Hellebuyck made 20 saves and Nikolaj Ehlers scored the lone goal for Winnipeg, which completed its four-game road trip (1-3) with a loss.
With the game tied at 1, Hellebuyck struggled to pick up the loose puck after Matt Martin’s shot from in close created a rebound. Holmstrom was able to fire a shot to the glove side to give New York the lead at 9:57 of the third period.
“The more he can get into those areas, the more dangerous he becomes,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said of Holmstrom. “I thought he did a good job of getting to that spot and they did a good job of finding him.”
Bo Horvat made two nifty passes on the sequence, setting up Martin for a chance from in close, and then Holmstrom. Martin also picked up an assist on the play to extend his individual point streak to three games.
Kyle Palmieri drew a slashing penalty with 2:31 remaining to prevent the Jets from tying the game in the closing minutes.
Ehlers evened the score at 1 with a power-play goal at 4:30 of the second period. The Danish forward wired a wrist shot over the glove of Sorokin from the faceoff circle as he collected his fifth goal of the season in his 22nd game. Josh Morrissey and Kyle Connor assisted.
Winnipeg outshot New York outshot 11-4 in the middle frame, but was unable to take the lead.
“Coming down the stretch, you know the games are going to be tight, the margin for error is so slim,” Jets forward Adam Lowry said. “It is tough to create offense out there, two great goalies and two teams that are pretty committed to defense.”
Aho scored his fifth of the season at 17:35 of the first period to open the scoring. Brock Nelson fired a shot that created a juicy rebound that Aho buried during 4-on-4 action. Winnipeg’s Mason Appleton committed a turnover in the offensive zone, which led to the scoring opportunity for New York.
Ross Johnston and Pierre-Luc Dubois each received two-minute matching roughing penalties, which led to wide-open play that the Islanders were able to capitalize on.
“Two of the top goalies in the league, you are not going to score at them at will unless you get extremely lucky,” Martin said. “You can expect a close game and Ilya really kept us in through the first two periods. In the third, we have been pretty good at locking it down and capitalizing on our opportunities.
“It really doesn’t matter to me how, it just matters that we get the points and keep moving forward.”
Mark Scheifele skated in his 700th career game and became the fifth player in franchise history to reach that mark, joining Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, Toby Enstrom and Chris Thorburn. … Ehlers skated in his 500th career game and became the third player in Jets team history (since the franchise relocated to Winnipeg in 2011-12) to reach that milestone.
Islanders: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.
New York Islanders’ Bo Horvat, right, celebrates with Simon Holmstrom after Holmstrom scored a goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, in Elmont, N.Y. The Islanders won 2-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)