3. Ilya Sorokin’s Game One Performance
Without a strong performance in the net, the New York Islanders would’ve been blown away by a much more lopsided score in game one than we actually saw. Due to Ilya Sorokin’s strength in net, the team was able to keep things tight, and even stay in the game headed down the stretch in the third period.
Sorokin wasn’t phenomenal in net the way we saw him play in his 48-save game five performance during the Pittsburgh series. He wasn’t infallible, but he was the main contributor in keeping round two’s opening game as close as it was for as long as it was.
However, his rebound control was shaky at times in game one, and it led directly to Boston’s second goal when he kicked a puck straight to the stick of Pastrnak.
That said, it’s hard to ask more of Sorokin than he gave in game one. He was very good in net, despite his rebound control being an issue at times. He kept the game tight when the Islanders had no business being that close to stealing the contest.
New York has had to rely heavily upon him early in these playoffs. He’d won every contest he’d started up until Saturday night, and the Islanders will need him to continue bringing that same level of play to games on a consistent basis.
After game one it’s clear the Islanders are playing a better opponent with much better goaltending than they faced in round one against the Penguins.
Rask didn’t have to be outstanding to win game one, but his night was better than any that Tristan Jarry posted in the opening round. The Isles will have to find ways to get more bodies in front of Rask, and in the meantime, they’ll have to hope that Sorokin can continue standing tall in net for them.
He hasn’t given us a reason to believe he can’t do that in these playoffs. Only Monday’s game two will show us if that trend can continue.