After a rare dominant victory for the islanders on Thursday nightJean-Gabriel Pageau did the same thing the Islanders players have done all year, win or lose: throw the credit to Ilya Sorokin.
“He saved a couple of breakaways,” Pageau said. “He made a lot of key saves to keep us in the game. … He was excellent for us.”
Sorokin’s play at the net — a .925 save percentage, six shutouts, and a 2.32 GAA — was the closest thing the Islanders have to a stabilizing force. The 26-year-old Russian, in his second year in the league, has emerged as a clear starter and a player who looks like he’ll be in the net on Long Island for a long time.
Though the Islanders drafted Sorokin back in 2014, given his KHL status, there was an open question as to when he would make the leap overseas. Finally, in 2020, when Sorokin was ready, he wasn’t eligible to play in the NHL bubble. He came anywaya decision Islanders coach Barrydios regards as key to his development.
“He’s seen what playoff hockey is up close,”diot said. “He needs to work on his English and build friendships with most of these guys he plays with.”
Coming from the KHL, the biggest adjustment for everyone is the smaller pitch size in North America. This will speed up the game and flip the puck more often.
By Defiance’s estimate, it took Sorokin 10 or 12 starts last season before he fully settled into things.
“Getting used to the traffic, the randomness of some of these opportunities that come your way, and being able to connect the dots,” Detroit said. “I think he did really well with our goalkeeping coaches [Piero Greco and Mitch Korn].”
Sorokin, who rarely speaks to the media, is also helped by the presence of another Russian goalkeeper, Semyon Varlamov. The two have mostly had separate starts this season since Varlamov returned from injury, but Varlamov has been hampered by the islanders’ miserable goal record at its beginnings.
“There is no competition,” said defiance. “He’s Ilya’s biggest fan when Ilya is on the net and Ilya Varly’s biggest fan when they’re on the net and they go everywhere together. You see them on the street, they go out to eat together, you see them go for a walk, whatever, they really are friends.”
Sorokin’s abilities were clear Thursday night when he stopped Boone Jenner with a key save short-handed on a first-period breakaway and kept the Blue Jackets off the net as they went on the power play five times during the game.
He escaped with a shutout in the 6-0 win, giving his teammates another game to praise their keeper.
“The key moment for me in the whole game was Sorokin being shorthanded in the first period,” said Detroit. “He made a great save and then they had a breakaway in the second period, he made another save. For me, those were the key moments where they were still sniffing for something to put back in the game and we didn’t give it to them.”
https://nypost.com/2022/03/11/ilya-sorokin-has-matured-into-islanders-solidifying-force/ Ilya Sorokin has matured into the consolidating force of the islanders