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Islanders: Ilya Sorokin Struggles In His Debut

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 16: Playing in his first NHL game, Ilya Sorokin #30 of the New York Islanders kicks the puck away from Brendan Lemieux #48 of the New York Rangers during the second period at Madison Square Garden on January 16, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 16: Playing in his first NHL game, Ilya Sorokin #30 of the New York Islanders kicks the puck away from Brendan Lemieux #48 of the New York Rangers during the second period at Madison Square Garden on January 16, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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It’s a night that Ilya Sorokin will never forget. After Semyon Varlamov took a shot up high in warmups, Sorokin was given the nod to get his first start in the NHL. Islanders fans have been waiting a long time for this night after he was selected in 2014.

Unfortunately, it was a game the Islanders would like to forget. While the team around him was completely flat, the Russian netminder let up a couple of soft goals in an ugly 5-0 contest.

The first goal came from Pavel Buchnevich on one that Ilya Sorokin would like to have back.

Yes, Noah Dobson turned the puck over and he wasn’t good tonight but it’s absolutely one that an NHL goalie should have. Both of these things can be (and are) true.

On the second goal, the Islanders let Artemi Panarin in alone on a breakaway and there wasn’t much that Sorokin could do there. That was strictly a lack of awareness from the Islanders defenders.

On Sorokin’s third goal allowed, he didn’t come out of the net far enough. Yes, Scott Mayfield got tangled with the ref with is annoying but even Sorokin would tell you his positioning on this goal was poor:

Later in the second, Sorokin would allow his fourth goal at 15:23 of the period. This time, it was another Noah Dobson turnover that caused a 3-on-2 in favor of the Rangers. Nothing Sorokin could do.

So far, two of the four goals are on him. The Rangers would add one more thanks to Artemi Panarin on the power play after Ross Johnston took two roughing penalties. Not much the rookie could do on that one.

Overall it wasn’t the performance we were hoping for. Obviously, in a perfect world, he comes out strong and sets the tone but on a night where he found out he was starting just minutes before puck drop, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

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He didn’t play well, it’s going to happen. The overreaction on Twitter from some was fairly wild but nonetheless, back at it on Monday against the Bruins. Sorokin finished with a .844 save percentage in his debut.

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