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Islanders name Ilya Sorokin as starter for Game 4 against Penguins

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MAY 22: Ilya Sorokin #30 of the New York Islanders leads the team out for warm-ups prior to playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Four of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Coliseum on May 22, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MAY 22: Ilya Sorokin #30 of the New York Islanders leads the team out for warm-ups prior to playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Four of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Coliseum on May 22, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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It is confirmed. The New York Islanders will start Ilya Sorokin in nets for Game 4 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The young Russian goalie led the Islanders out for warm-ups before the puck drop.

Starter and fellow Russian Semyon Varlamov takes a seat for the fourth game in the series after a few not-so-great games in the second and third games.

Sorokin, who was excellent in game one will have a chance to help his team even this playoff series at 2-2.

New York Islanders start Ilya Sorokin for Game 4

For a number of fans, this is a long time coming. As I said, Ilya Sorokin was excellent in Game 1. He stopped 39 of 42 shots for a 0.929SV% on the night. That should have been enough, again for some, to have him start Game 2 and maybe even Game 3 over a “cold” Varlamov.

But with what should be Vezina Trophy-worthy numbers and the bulk of the starts in this season and the playoffs last year, this was Varlamov’s crease. When he’s healthy he gets the start. There’s no question.

He deserved to start Game 2 and even Game 3. But with his performance on Tuesday, Barry Trotz decided to put the rookie back between the pipes for this pivotal home game.

Through the year Sorokin has been pretty good against the Penguins.

In his first test against Pittsburgh, Sorokin posted a twenty save shutout. His second game against the Pens wasn’t nearly as good with four goals on nine shots. He only played 26 minutes in that one.

Having a different goalie in the net might not totally swing the game if the team in front of the goalie plays the same way they’ve played through most of this series. The skaters in front of Sorokin have to play a hard, but disciplined game, that contains the opposition and takes advantage of opportunities at the other end. If they can do that and Sorokin plays the game we know he can, the Isles can certainly level the series.

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