Everyone was surprised when Ilya Sorokin got the start in Game 1. The thought was that Vezina Candidate, Semyon Varlamov would be back in the crease for the Islanders after getting banged up in his final start of the season.
Well, due to limited practice, Trotz went to Sorokin instead and he was spectacular. The rookie netminder posted a .929 save percentage on 39 saves in the Islanders overtime victory. Impressive stuff.
All year long, the Isles have had the benefit of being able to have two goalies who you trust. With one healthy and hot, why not ride him?
That’s not to say that Varlamov would be a bad option. It’s just right now, it seems like Ilya Sorokin is the more clear choice.
During the regular season, Semyon Varlamov was unreal for the Isles. He had a .929 save percentage, a 2.04 GAA, and a career-high of seven shutouts (in 35 starts). Talk about impressive stuff.
But, against the Penguins specifically, he wasn’t great. Here’s his stat line from the seven games he played against them. He went 1-3-3 with a .897 save percentage and a 2.86 goals against average.
Clearly, that’s a drastic difference from his output over the entirety of the 2021 season. If you have a player who struggled against the opponent you’re playing, who isn’t fully healthy, and who hasn’t played a full game in nearly two weeks why play him if you don’t have to?
What did Barry Trotz have to say on the subject? Well, not much.
Barry doesn’t like to give away his thought process too often so this comes as no surprise. When the team heads out on the ice for warmups is when we will likely know who is getting the start for New York.