It hasn't been the most prominent statistical start to a season for NY Islanders all-world goaltender Ilya Sorokin. With a shutout already to his name this season, Sorokin has also been lit up for five goals twice this season, to little fault of his own.
Few can argue that Sorokin has been the Islanders' best player this season, keeping his team in games they frankly have had no business being in.
Since making his NHL debut, Sorokin has been no stranger to spectacular saves, already making a few 'save of the year' stops this season. Even when he's pulled too far out of the play, unable to get across the crease with his body, he still has that big paddle to stretch far from his body and make the unthinkable save.
On St. Patrick's Day 2022, perhaps Sorokin's best save of his career came at Madison Square Garden with fellow Russian Artemi Panarin as his victim. Leaning back and extending his paddle to this right, Sorokin robbed a sure-fired goal for the Rangers, keeping the game nodded at zero, with the Isles eventually winning 2-1. The save would become the NHL Fan Save of the Year for 2022.
This past February, Kris Letang became Sorokin's next victim after Letang kicked the puck to his stick on the backhand with a gaping goal in front of him. Almost nonchalantly flipping the puck towards the wide-open goal, Sorokin again paddled the puck out of the air.
Just a month and a day later, Sorokin was at in once again, this time against Erik Gustafsson and the Toronto Maple Leafs. In a similar position as Letang, from about four feet with the puck on his forehand, Gustafsson corraled a pass with an empty cage in front of him, only for Sorokin to make the stop.
Last night, though the Isles inevitably gave up seven goals, Sorokin again did the unthinkable, this time against one of the league's top players, Nathan MacKinnon. It was from a more difficult angle for the shooter, but Sorokin fully extended his paddle, changing the direction of the shot and keeping the Isles in the game for the time being.
Obtaining just one point in their last three games, the Isles' defense has struggled with increased minutes in Scott Mayfield's absence. Sorokin is always the great equalizer in goal but can only make so many phenomenal saves to keep his team alive.