Just minutes before puck drop we got our first surprise for the New York Islanders in their postseason journey. In Game 1, Ilya Sorokin will get the start for New York against the Penguins, his first of his NHL career.
Yesterday, Barry Trotz said that Semyon Varlamov would be available for Game 1, but with his lower-body injury he only practiced one time this week.
Luckily, Trotz has two goalies that he can rely on and trust. Ilya Sorokin was solid in his first NHL season for the Isles. He went 13-6-3 with a .918 save percentage and a 2.17 goals against average with three shutouts to his name.
During the regular season, Sorokin only had two games against the Pens and they couldn’t be more different from each other. In February, he made 20 saves in a shutout win one of the Islanders two wins against the Penguins this year.
But then, on March 27, it was a clunker. He allowed four goals on nine shots for a .556 save percentage. You don’t get much better or worse than that in a range.
Sorokin had a rocky start to his NHL career in his first three starts. But in the 19 games since then, he’s been stellar. He went 13-4-2 with a .927 save percentage and three shutouts along the way for New York.
Sure, in a perfect world the Islanders would have Vezina candidate Semyon Varlamov in goal today, but as already mentioned Ilya Sorokin is more than capable.
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In the KHL, Sorokin had a .941 save percentage over 69 starts in the playoffs. If he can continue that success today, the Isles should be in great shape in Pittsburgh.