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Andrew Gross

Bo Horvat scores in home debut for Islanders in 4-0 win over Kraken

ELMONT, N.Y. — The party was already well underway against the overmatched Kraken when Bo Horvat scored his first goal as an Islander in his home debut.

Soon, the first “Hor-vat, Hor-vat,” chants rang out in welcome to the elite talent who is now an integral part of this franchise’s future.

UBS Arena, partly because of COVID-19 circumstances, partly because of the Islanders’ performances and partly because it has yet to host a playoff game, has not had an overabundance of special moments since opening in November of 2021.

Tuesday night’s 4-0 victory, which extended the Islanders’ winning streak to four games, was one.

“Probably the same amount of nerves and butterflies playing in front of the home crowd for the first time,” Horvat said before the game, acknowledging he was “really nervous” during his Islanders’ debut in Monday night’s 2-1 win in Philadelphia. “I’ve only played in the building once, on the away side of it. So excited to be on the home side.”

A dazzling Ilya Sorokin — who received some chants of his own — made 31 saves for his fifth shutout in his first start following his first All-Star appearance.

Rookie defenseman Samuel Bolduc scored his first NHL goal and rookie right wing Simon Holmstrom scored his third. The Islanders (27-22-5), who scored more than two goals for the first time in nine games, have allowed just two goals in their winning streak, their longest since winning four straight from Nov. 21-26. And they moved within one point of the Capitals, who hold the first wild-card spot and have played one fewer game.

But this was about Horvat and the quick and easy chemistry he is showing with Mathew Barzal, adjusting well to his new role as a right wing as Horvat now mans the middle on the top line.

“[The fans] are all excited, as they should be,” Barzal said. “We got a great player. He’s going to have a lot of great moments at UBS.”

The Islanders acquired Horvat, 27, on Jan. 30 for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty and a top-12 protected first-round pick, then signed the former Canucks captain to an eight-year, $68 million extension on Sunday.

Horvat, who received the loudest pregame cheer when he was announced as a starter, swept in the puck at 5:08 of the second period for a 4-0 lead. Barzal, in the left circle, found him open low to the right for his career-high 32nd goal.

“He makes it easy to play with him,” Horvat said. “For me, it’s just trying to get him the puck and get to open spaces and, 99% of the time, he’s going to find you.”

Zach Parise, deflecting Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s shot, had just given the Islanders a 3-0 lead at 3:38 of the second period.

The Islanders wound up dominating the first period despite being outshot 4-1 early.

Bolduc notched his milestone goal at 7:59 when he sent a shot from near the left wall through Kyle Palmieri’s screen at the crease. Defenseman Scott Mayfield earned his 100th career point with the primary assist while Brock Nelson extended his point streak to eight games with the secondary helper.

Barzal nearly made it 2-0 as he hit the post at 10:40. Holmstrom did at 18:29, finishing a dominant shift by the third line. He got wide open low in the slot and connected on a rising wrister off Pageau’s feed.

Sorokin was strong during the Kraken’s early push, making a skate save on Ryan Donato’s one-timer at 4:34 of the first period.

A shaky Martin Jones made 23 saves for the Kraken (29-16-5), playing their first game in 10 days.

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