Last night, the New York Islanders fell 4-3 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings in a game where goaltender Ilya Sorokin made several key saves and highlight reel stops to either put the Isles in position to win or keep them in the game for a chance to take two points.
We've seen it before.
That's led to a similar refrain from his teammates after games, lamenting the fact that they didn't come away with a win in a game where Sorokin stood on his head at times and covered up for their blown assignments and mistakes.
“Sorokin is who I feel the worst for,” Casey Cizikas said after the game. “He stands on his head every single night and gives us a chance to win every single night, and we let him down.”
In OT, he stopped the league-leading goal scorer, Alex DeBrincat, with his right pad on the goalline only to have no chance on a 2-o-1 give-and-go between Lucas Raymond and JT Compher that won the game for Detroit. The goal followed a turnover at the blueline by Bo Horvat, who failed to corral a bouncing puck and clear the zone.
“That last one is on me, I just couldn't get a hold of it and it's too bad that [Sorokin] has no chance on it,” Horvat said. “Pretty much all those goals he had no chance on. So that one’s on us, he’s been unbelievable for so long and we have to be better in front of him.”
The stats so far don't tell the story for Sorokin; he's 3-1-2 with a 2.99 GAA and a .910 save percentage. You won't even find him among the leaders in goals saved above expected, a stat that was his calling card throughout last season. There's stopping high-danger shots, and then there's preventing the sure goals that Sorokin has done throughout his six starts. They all count the same in the advanced stays, but those of us watching the game know how good he's been.
His teammates are aware that they need to play better defensively in front of their Vezina Finalist goaltender, now it's on them to do something about it to have the results be more reflective of Sorokin's performance.