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Struggling Ducks left frustrated by Ilya Sorokin and Islanders in 4-0 loss

New York Islanders forward Ross Johnston passes the puck in front of Ducks defenseman Josh Mahura.
New York Islanders forward Ross Johnston, left, passes the puck in front of Ducks defenseman Josh Mahura during the first period of the Ducks’ 4-0 loss Sunday at Honda Center.
(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)
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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 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 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.“

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Despite learning before the game that coach Todd McLellan was in COVID protocol and would not be behind the bench, the Kings defeat the rival Ducks 4-1.

Feb. 25, 2022

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,” Ducks 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.”

New York Islanders defenseman Andy Greene scores past Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz.
New York Islanders defenseman Andy Greene, bottom, scores past Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz during the third period Sunday.
(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)
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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,” Ducks 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.”

Falling behind

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.

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“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.

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