Ilya Sorokin Takes Back the Crease for the NY Islanders

New York Islanders v Florida Panthers
New York Islanders v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

The NY Islanders were utterly dominated in Game 2 of their first-round matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes. Due to no fault of his own, Semyon Varlamov was bombarded with rubber all night, seeing 110 shots attempted at his goal. In a game that could have gotten out of hand, Varlamov kept the Islanders in the game, allowing them a chance to leave Raleigh tied at a game apiece.

Heading into Game 3, Patrick Roy needs to change something in terms of his lineup as he'll give Ilya Sorokin his first action of the postseason.

Varlamov was the Islanders' starter down the stretch of the regular season, playing a big role in the team securing third place in the Metro Division. However, it was always believed that if the Islanders were going to make some noise in the playoffs, Sorokin needed to play a role.

Last season's Vezina Trophy finalist, Sorokin has struggled this season, posting a 3.01 GAA and .909 SV%, number swell below his career averages.

Playing in 56 games this season while facing more rubber than any other goalie in the league at that time, Sorokin saw himself on the bench much more than he's used to down the stretch, allowing him much-needed physical and mental rest. During that time, when his number's been called, Sorokin has played much better, recording a win in each of his final three starts.

One aspect of Sorokin's game that has struggled this season has been his rebound control, which Roy believes has improved during his time off.

"He's been controlling his rebound better," said Roy according to Stefan Rosner of The Hockey News. "I feel like he was, maybe, giving too many rebounds in the beginning, and I think, right now,  the puck starts to stick closer, like what Varly does so well."

The Hurricanes have shown a willingness all season to get pucks towards the net at every opportunity. With that being the case, Sorokin needs to keep his rebounds to a minimum, allowing the Islanders to exit the zone without allowing multiple opportunities in a single shift.

Sorokin is beginning the first year of an 8-year deal worth $8.25M annually at the start of next season. He's the Islanders goaltender for years going forward and will look to regain the trust of his team and the fan base starting tomorrow night.