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game recap

Islanders shut out Coyotes, keep pace in Metropolitan Division race

Trail first-place Capitals by one point; Arizona fails to gain in Western wild card

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Eberle's opening tally

ARI@NYI: Eberle buries rebound to open scoring

Nick Leddy's initial shot gets blocked and Jordan Eberle puts the rebound past Darcy Kuemper to give the Islanders an early 1-0 lead

  • 00:52 •

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders moved back to within one point of first place in the Metropolitan Division by defeating the Arizona Coyotes 2-0 at Nassau Coliseum on Sunday for their second win in as many days.

The Islanders (44-25-7), who also defeated the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, dropped to three points behind the Washington Capitals earlier Sunday after the Capitals beat the Flyers 3-1 at Capital One Arena to improve to 96 points.

The Islanders, with 95 points, are two points ahead of the third-place Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

[WATCH: All Coyotes vs. Islanders highlights]

 

The Capitals, Islanders and Penguins each have six games remaining. The Islanders play the Capitals in Washington on April 6, the final day of the regular season.

"It just feels right the way we play," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "When you play right, it feels right, and you don't really worry about the score as much. … Just play and then we can frustrate teams, we can get on you and the results sort of come."

The Coyotes (36-33-7) finished 0-3-1 with four goals on their four-game road trip and are two points behind the Colorado Avalanche in the race for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

Video: ARI@NYI: Nelson tucks it in to double the lead

Arizona has 79 points in 76 games, the same as the Minnesota Wild.

The Coyotes' next three games are against the Chicago Blackhawks at home on Tuesday, the Avalanche in Colorado on Friday and the Wild at home on March 31.

"That's the season," Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers said. "You win those three and we forget all about this trip. You don't win them and you think back to this trip. It's going to be let's go. It's going to be playoff games the rest of the way. I think it's been playoff games for us. I think we've had that mentality these last 20 minutes. We just can't let off the gas."

The Islanders got goals from forwards Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson, and goalie Robin Lehner made 31 saves for his fifth shutout of the season.

Lehner's biggest save came on Michael Grabner's shorthanded breakaway with 10:36 remaining in the third period, when the Islanders were protecting a 1-0 lead.

Darcy Kuemper made 24 saves in his 17th straight start for the Coyotes. Arizona has six goals in its past five games (0-3-2).

"I thought we had good possession, some good chances, but then there were times when we had some opportunities I think we just rushed a couple of things," Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. "I thought we could have got to the middle on the point a few times and we just rushed our shot when there was plenty of time to get to the middle and shoot. That's what happens when you don't score, you rush things."

Video: Lehner earns Sunday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Eberle scored at 4:37 of the first period to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead. Kuemper couldn't handle Nick Leddy's shot from the left circle with his glove and Eberle knocked the puck in for his 15th goal of the season and second in 22 games since Feb. 10.

"Any time you get an early lead, especially in a back-to-back, they were coming off one too, the biggest thing is that you don't want to sit on it, and I didn't think we did that," Eberle said. "We still created quite a bit, and that's also a positive."

Nelson made it 2-0 with 3:14 remaining in the third period, scoring on a wraparound for his 24th goal of the season. The play was originally ruled no goal but was changed after a replay review.

 

They said it

"This one stings a bit to be honest. We'll have to forget about it and we've got another big one [Tuesday]. We've got to try to push on and figure it out here quick, but that one definitely [stunk]. You could feel we felt it was kind of a must win, but we have to move on and look at the next one tht way." -- Coyotes center Brad Richardson

"They play a good system over there, play four lines, similar to what we do. We defended well, got a big kill at the end, a timely goal at the end and one early, and just held on. It was a good step [this weekend]; two games that we desperately needed. We're looking at trying to take over the division and give ourselves the best chance to move as far as we can." -- Islanders forward Jordan Eberle

 

Need to know

Trotz coached in his 1,600th regular-season game. He is seven away from tying former Islanders coach Al Arbour for third place on the NHL's all-time list for most games coached. … The Islanders lead the NHL with 10 shutouts this season.

 

What's next

Coyotes: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-A, WGN, NHL.TV)

Islanders: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, FS-O, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Video: Lehner's 31 saves help Islanders blank Coyotes, 2-0

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