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Islanders 3, Penguins 2 (2OT): Sorokin steals a win in Pittsburgh

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Ilya Sorokin was locked in tonight, giving the Islanders the opportunity to win a game they honestly shouldn’t have. Josh Bailey’s OT winner gives the Isles a chance to clinch a spot in the second round at the Coli.

New York Islanders v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Five
These guys!
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

In Ilya Sorokin we trust.

The new SoroKing of New York was unbelievable tonight, making 48 saves on 50 shots. The Isles skaters... well, it wasn’t their best night tonight, but they made the most of their 28 shots on goal, climbing back into the game after going down 1-0 and then 2-1.

Anthony Beauvillier tied the game in the last minute of the first period, and Jordan Eberle tied it again on the Isles first shot attempt of the third period. But Josh Bailey would be the hero, scoring less than a minute into double overtime and giving the Islanders the opportunity to punch their ticket to the second round on home ice.

On the non-celebratory side, Oliver Wahlstrom left the game in the third period after falling awkwardly after being hit by Mike Matheson, who probably should have gotten a penalty for the play but didn’t. There wasn’t any concrete update on Wahlstrom, who is now “day to day”.

[NHL Gamecenter | Natural Stat Trick (it’s ugly) | HockeyViz (probably also very ugly)]

First Period

Sorokin was called on early and often, making big saves on the Blueger line, Jason Zucker, and Freddie Gaudreau.

Tristan Jarry, at the other end of the rink, stopped a solid Oliver Wahlstrom chance.

Scott Mayfield gave Sorokin some more work to do, fumbling the puck and bouncing it off the endboards and right into the slot, where Sorokin had to make a fantastic stop on Bryan Rust.

Nick Leddy turned the puck over, and Josh Bailey had to head to the box after slashing while trying to break up a Pens play. Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0 on that power play.

Anthony Beauvillier would reward Sorokin for keeping them in the game when he took advantage of the Pens defense getting caught in the Isles’ end, going 1 on 1 with Jake Guentzel and taking a Sidney Crosby slash, and scoring anyway to tie the game.

Second Period

Once again, Sorokin was needed big time. He made good saves on Crosby and Tanev, among others, as Pittsburgh utterly dominated this period.

The Isles did get a power play, though, when Nick Leddy drew a hooking call after going up ice with the puck, but the PP only really had one good chance - a set play where JG Pageau was set up for a one timer in the slot, which he whiffed on.

Bryan Rust took advantage of the momentum from the PK and after some Pens pressure, took a long range one timer that managed to beat Sorokin to make it 2-1.

Andy Greene went to the box for high sticking, and the Isles killed that penalty, and even had a short handed opportunity out of it, but Pageau misplayed it and the Isles couldn’t make Pittsburgh pay for their mistake there.

Sorokin notably stopped shots from Mike Matheson and Kasperi Kapanen, ultimately turning away 19 of 20 Pittsburgh shots, while the Islanders put up a measly four.

Third Period

Jeff Carter tapped what could have been the dagger goal wide off a deflection, and that was the best chance for the Pens as the Islanders were hanging on for about 9 minutes of Pens domination, before Jordan Eberle was able to score on the Isles very first shot attempt of the period. He initially fumbled the puck, and that gave him the opportunity to regather and beat Jarry to tie the game.

The Penguins would keep pushing, though, as Malkin and Zucker had a 2 on 1 that Leddy and Cizikas helped clean up, and Sorokin had to continue his phenomenal performance to keep this game tied.

Tristan Jarry saved another Wahlstrom shot, a sharp angle attempt after a Mayfield shot deflected to him.

Then, Wahlstrom would fall to the ice after Mike Matheson hit him into the boards and high sticked him. Wahlstrom’s leg bent underneath him in a way that was reminiscent of Anders Lee’s injury, and it seems unlikely we’ll see him for the rest of the postseason. A big loss for sure and hopefully it’s not as bad as it looked.

Somehow the Isles didn’t get a power play out of that, but they did get one after Gaudreau went for tripping Nelson, but the Penguins killed that.

Isles had most of the shots from that point on, but the Pens still looked more dangerous. The Islanders held on for overtime in a game they frankly had no business being in.

OT1

Tanev shot wide and Sorokin had to make some more saves (not a surprise). Jarry made some good saves on Beauvillier and Barzal shots, and Sorokin made an even better one on a Gaudreau tip, managing to be in the right place so that the puck hit him rather than going in.

The scariest moment of OT aside from the Gaudreau tip was when the Isles were hemmed into their zone for an extended period of time, but they were able to survive and ultimately headed to double OT after a few more chances were exchanged.

OT2

Josh Bailey didn’t make us wait too long - under a minute in, Anthony Beauvillier put pressure on Jarry as he was handling the puck. Despite having two Penguins open on either side of the ice, he elected to throw it up the middle, where Josh Bailey, the longest tenured Islander and always a strong playoff performer, was able to steal it and score, winning the game and sending the Isles back to the Coliseum to potentially win the series on Wednesday night.

Quick Thoughts

  • Sorokin put on an absolute masterclass tonight. The Islanders would not have won this game without him, and this has been some of his best stuff all season.
  • Man, Josh Bailey loves an OT goal against the Penguins in the playoffs.
  • With Wahlstrom likely out long term, I’d put Michael Dal Colle back in. He was solid during the bubble playoffs and provides a lot of forechecking and is good at winning battles along the boards. He doesn’t pack the scoring punch Wahlstrom does, but he’s calm and fits Pageau’s wing better than Travis Zajac.

Up Next

Next, the New York Islanders head back to the Coliseum on Wednesday to hopefully close out the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and earn their spot in the second round.