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New York Islanders

Sorokin Back, So You’re Saying There’s a Chance…



New York Islanders

After missing four games and a period, netminder Ilya Sorokin seems ready to go as the New York Islanders announced Tuesday morning that goaltender Cory Schneider was sent back to Bridgeport (AHL).

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Ilya Sorokin suffered an upper-body injury on Mar. 27 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, ending his evening after two periods.

Assumed to be a head injury (yes I know what happens when you assume), the timetable varies. That is why head coach Barry Trotz told us that it would be up to Sorokin to tell him when he felt he was ready to return.

Sorokin had been making strides all week, and after the New York Islanders 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, Trotz said that Sorokin would be traveling on the road trip.

The New York Islanders face the Dallas Stars Tuesday night, followed by a back-to-back situation on Friday and Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues.

After Tuesday’s morning skate, head coach Barry Trotz stated that Varlamov will play Tuesday. It’s likely that Sorokin gets back between the pipes for Friday night’s contest against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Over Ilya Sorokin’s last five appearances, he owns a .938 SV% with a 1.73 GAA. On the season, Sorokin’s 2.30 GAA ranks fifth in the NHL, his .927 SV% ranks third, and he ranks second in shutouts with six.

In Ilya Sorokin’s absence, the New York Islanders did their job.

Backed by three straight wins from Semyon Varlamov and a spot-start win by Cory Schneider, his first start in over two years, the New York Islanders have won four straight and sit 11 points back of the Washington Capitals with 14 games left to play.

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

As one would think, every game remaining on the calendar is a must-win games if the New York Islanders want to find a way into the postseason. And although Semyon Varlamov is red-hot right now, Trotz will need both his goaltenders, given the schedule.

“We’ve got two really good goaltenders who give us a chance to win every night,” Trotz said Tuesday.

Trotz also alluded to the upcoming schedule as nine of the Islanders next 13 opponents are in a playoff spot (Pittsburgh, Capitals twice), with the Dallas Stars currently just a point back of the second wild-card spot in the West.

According to NHL Network, the New York Islanders have the most difficult schedule to end their season, with their opponents’ average point percentage at .627.

If the Islanders want to do the unthinkable and find a way into the 2022 dance, they will need to find themselves four points back by their 80th game of the season. Then they will need to beat the Washington Capitals, who they are chasing, in regulation in consecutive games.

And in the last game of the season, against the team that has sent the New York Islanders home in back-to-back conference finals, the Islanders will need to pull out a victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Probable…no. Possible? Yes.

Regardless of how the season shapes up, the New York Islanders are playing meaningful hockey late in a season that showed signs of being “over” much earlier. The Islanders are 11-3-1 in their last 15 games, and at this point, the New York Islanders can only control what they do.

The New York Islanders continue their chase of Washington Tuesday at 8:30 PM when they face the Dallas Stars.