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Islanders rookie scores first NHL goal after false alarm

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PHILADELPHIA — Robin Salo missed a chance to score his first NHL goal Monday night, but the Islanders’ rookie defenseman left nothing to chance on Tuesday.

Salo appeared to have scored his first second-half goal on Monday as the Islanders beat the Flyers at the UBS Arena. However, the official scorer noted that Casey Cizika headed Salo’s shot from the point before hitting the back of the net.

So, just 2:08 into the Islanders’ 4-3 shootout win over the Flyers Tuesday night, Salo ran into the offensive zone and slapped a slapshot past Carter Hart. A deflection is not necessary.

“A really good feeling,” said Salo after the win. “And of course the even better feeling that we won the game.”

Salo’s staying power in the NHL came as a welcome surprise after Ryan Pulock’s injury forced the star defenseman to sit weeks longer than originally diagnosed. Salo, a 23-year-old Finn, has averaged 17:26 per game and settled into a role with Andy Greene after initial stumbles.

Robin Salo celebrates his first NHL goal with Andy Greene.AP

“It obviously feels good to play,” said Salo. “And it’s a tough league. I feel like it took some time to get used to, but I want to try to build some confidence and try to play better.

Salo, who received an assist on Monday’s goal, has only scored his second and third career points in the last two days but said he believes it is in his defense that he has improved the most.

“I position myself in the right spot and play physically,” he said. “Trying not to allow any team to score.”

This made Cizikas, who was sitting next to him, laugh, but Salo forced himself into the conversation to have playing time even if Pulock comes back. That wouldn’t happen without good play on both sides of the ice.

When asked about Pulock’s injury on Monday, head coach Barrydios said: “It’s a small curse but at the same time a blessing. A guy like Robin Salo evolves.”

On Tuesday, Salo received more confirmation on that front – and a moment he will remember forever.

“It’s great for him,” said Josh Bailey. “He deserved it. It was a great shot, we were all very happy for him. He’s gaining more and more confidence, that’s how it goes.

Defiance said Kyle Palmieri’s rehab from a lower body injury is “probably 80, 85 percent.” The forward was injured against the Bruins on December 16 and was initially described as fit for everyday use.

“He just hasn’t progressed as quickly as we thought,” saiddiot. “There was no setback.”

Matt Martin said the NHL’s decision to halt COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic players after the All-Star hiatus was “a step in the right direction.”

The league made the announcement Tuesday, following other pro and collegiate sports.

“This is the first time I’ve actually heard of it, but I think it’s probably a good thing,” Martin said Tuesday morning.

“As far as I know, some of the protocols that I feel are going to be required will change,”diot said after the game. “I just went through COVID and felt absolutely amazing. So I think the league is really adapting to the demands of this sport, but also the changes in these athletes feel good.”

The 90-day “trial leave” for those who have recovered from COVID-19 remains in place.

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