Editorials

Islanders vs Sabres: Ilya Sorokin shuts out Buffalo for first NHL win

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 31: Ilya Sorokin #30 of the New York Islanders looks on during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 31, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 31: Ilya Sorokin #30 of the New York Islanders looks on during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 31, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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With goals from Pageau, Nelson, and a multi-point game from Josh Bailey, the New York Islanders rolled over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. As Barry Trotz said today when everyone is going the Isles can win every night.

More of the same could get a similar result with a not so rested Buffalo team.

Going into it, Trotz made few changes to the lineup with Anthony Beauvillier coming back in. That forced recently waived Leo Komarov to the taxi squad. In net Sorokin would get his fourth start of the year against a motivated – and not as rested – Buffalo side.

New York Islanders Ilya Sorokin gets his first career NHL win

Not getting a shot against in 20+ minutes to end the game last night clearly stung the Sabres. In a post-game pressed with Buffalo media, captain Jack Eichel was visibly upset with his team’s effort.

And how could he not, the Islanders put on a defensive masterclass against the Sabres. Doing so against wouldn’t be easy.

Getting two goals in the opening 12 minutes of the game (from Anders Lee and Jean-Gabriel Pageau) would certainly help.

If you’re thinking this is the same goal he scored yesterday you could be forgiven. It looks identical. But yesterday’s goal came from the right side of the ice.

With the goal, Pageau now has six on the year and five in his last four games. It’s been written a number of times, but while the cost for Pageau at the 2020 trade deadline was high, it was high for a reason. He’s been worth every penny the Islanders invested in him through the trade and that $30 million contract.

Sorokin Statement Game

His NHL debut didn’t go as planned. But since that horrendous outing against the Rangers, Ilya Sorokin has worked on his game and has steadily improved. Just look at his first three starts in the NHL for the Russian netminder:

  • 5-0 Loss to Rangers: 27 saves, 0.844SV%
  • 2-0 Loss to Devils: 22 saves, 0.917SV%
  • 4-3 OT Loss to Flyers: 25 saves, 0.862SV%

With 20 saves tonight, Sorokin not only got the win but a shutout to boot. Yes, it came against the Buffalo Sabres who’ve played once in two weeks, but he made a number of highlights reel saves.

His glove came in handy a few times tonight but so did his ice-level movement. The shutout was almost spoiled if Barry Trotz and his crew didn’t spot the Sabres coming in offside on their one “goal” of the game.

With the win, the Islanders now have 19 points in 15 games and sit second in the Eastern Division. They also have three wins in a row and are on an eight-game point streak. Everything is going well right now as they get ready for the Penguins on Thursday.

Winners

Ilya Sorokin (20 saves, 1.00SV%): The White Whale shows us what he’s made of today.
Anders Lee (2G, 3SOG): Lee is on pace for 22 goals in 56 games. I say he hits more than that.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (1G,1A): The Human Torche is on pace for 37 points in 56 games (55 points in 82 games).

Losers

Jack Eichel (1SOG): He criticized his team’s effort yesterday, but it’s not like he did much today.
Adam Pelech (4PIM): Not sure what’s up with Pelech of late. He now has 14 PIM, his career-high is 28 from 17-18.
Riley Sheahan (2PIM): It’s not a good game when your only contribution is a minor penalty.

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