The Islanders gave Ilya Sorokin the first lead of his NHL career and he responded with his first win and shutout.
True, the Isles’ sweep came against a Covid-rusty Sabres squad, but the Sabres’ Covid close contacts, the Devils, also returned to play last night and made mince meat of the Smurfs. And earlier this season, the Isles were swept by a Capitals team playing shorthanded because four of its players broke Covid protocol.
So I’m not going to pretend like this was all in the bag, rather that they went into Buffalo with an advantage and made the most of it.
And it took everyone: Though Sorokin “only” needed 20 saves for the shutout (plus a successful video review of an obvious offside), some of his saves were highlight reel-worthy.
The win bumps the Isles up to second in the East, though others have games in hand.
- About last night: “When you play, play, play, you feel better every day.” [LHH | Isles | Newsday | NHL | Die by the Blade, where there is sadness for Okposo]
- Welcome back, Anthony Beauvillier! [Newsday]
- Pageau became the first Islander to score in the first period of four consecutive games since Matt Moulson.
- The Islanders are, of course, better when they score first. So Anders Lee’s goal was big, and it was the first time they’d given Sorokin a lead to play with. [NYI Hockey Now]
- It wasn’t for a game (that comes later), but the Isles welcomed 2,000 fans to the Coliseum for a drive-through event. [NY Sports Day]
The Sorokin Show
He didn’t steal the win, but he earned the shutout. And Isles fans have waited a long time to see him come over and lead a victory headline.
Can’t pick one awesome Sorokin save, SO all of his awesome saves are our @NewYorkLottery Moment of the Game! pic.twitter.com/jficIjpgrP— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 17, 2021
Sorokin asked what he'll remember about tonight:— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) February 17, 2021
More from Sorokin: "I don't think about pressure. I just think about my game — what I can do and what I can control. It's all about what I think beforehand during the game." #Isles— Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) February 17, 2021
21-year-old Noah Dobson on 25-year-old Ilya Sorokin: "He's an older guy, he's played five seasons... you see that maturity and he's getting more comfortable each game."— Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) February 17, 2021
Watching this on repeat pic.twitter.com/rJGw4R9s8x— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 17, 2021
“Oh yeah, it’s better when you start 2-0 rather than 0-2.” I love watching Sorokin master English.
“When you play, play, play, you’ll feel better every day. I feel better than I did a month ago.”— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 17, 2021
Sorokin ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/KQkF20gc25
Last night’s NHL scores include the Capitals ending their skid to beat the Penguins, and the Devils returning from Covid to dump the Rangers.
- More games rescheduled due to recent Covid postponements, including a few involving the Islanders (Devils, Flyers).
- Trouble in the desert, always: An article quoting current and former Coyotes employees describes a “toxic” culture mired in financial woes under the new owner, who sounds like a Diet Spano, and their new GM. [Athletic] Author Katie Strang discusses. [Sportsnet]
- I’ve lost track of how many times Alex Galchenyuk has been traded, but the Canes dealt him to the Leafs after acquiring him from the Senators this week...maybe he gets to dodge the cross-border quarantine? [NHL] For the Leafs, he offers waivers-taxi flexibility. [Sportsnet]
- John Hynes was dealt a flawed roster in Nashville, but he’s not free from blame and should his time be running out? [On the Forecheck]
- The only thing better than Canadian hockey media talking only about the Leafs is Canadian hockey media talking only about youth hockey in Toronto. Never been involved with that (thank Bossy), but I can only imagine it’s made up of all the worst Hockey Parents in the world. I’ve had friends invest that kind of capital and emotion in trying to have their kids “make it” in a sport and, well, I just wonder if they’ve ever pondered what else the universe has to offer. [31 Thoughts]