Ilya Sorokin and shutouts are as synonymous with each other as Long Island and bagels.
Following last night's 1-0 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at UBS Arena, the New York Islanders franchise goaltender has 18 shutouts in only 143 career starts, meaning he blanks his opposition a staggering 12.6% of the time, the highest percentage since 1943-44 for goalies with at least 100 starts. Saturday's 40-save performance was his second of the season.
There's a decent chance you knew that stat already, but here's a new one. Having collected 18 shutouts in his first 150 or fewer starts, Sorokin joined a list decorated with Hall-of-Fame goaltenders. According to NHL PR, the 28-year-old became only the eighth goaltender to debut since 1929-30 with 18 shutouts before his 150th career appearance.
The others are as follows: Tony Esposito (24), Terry Sawchuk (22), Frank Brimsek (21), Jacques Plante (20), Turk Broda (18), Glenn Hall (18) and Pekka Rinne (18). All but Rinne are in the Hall-of-Fame, though the longtime Predators goaltender only retired after the 2020-21 season and has a statue of him standing outside Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Unfortunately for Sorokin, the shutout that got him on the list came in a rare shootout loss, although it hasn't been rare for Vezina runner-up. This is the second consecutive season that Sorokin has lost a game where he has recorded a shutout. The same thing happened last December in Colorado. There's only been six instances in NHL history where a goaltender has made 40 saves or more in a shutout and loss and Sorokin has been the goaltender for two of them.
You can tell early in games whether Sorokin looks locked in, and he was that way last night against the Flyers. He needed to be as he faced 40 shots through regulation and overtime and now has faced at least 35 shots in nine games this season, the most in the NHL. After a slow start that saw him give up four goals in more in several starts, Sorokin is trending back to his All-Star form and now has moved his goals-against-average below three (2.95) with a .917 save percentage.