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Here’s What Islanders Forwards, Sorokin Said About Shootouts

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New York Islanders

EAST MEADOW, NY– Following their 2-1 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night, the New York Islanders remained win-less in the skills competition this season, now 0 for 3. On nine attempts this season, the Islanders have just one shootout goal via Mathew Barzal, which came against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 14.

Although not the main focal point at Wednesday’s practice, the New York Islanders did work on their shootout attempts:

NYI Hockey Now caught up with forwards Brock Nelson and Simon Holmstrom, along with netminder Ilya Sorokin to get their takes on shootouts.

SHOOTERS POINT OF VIEW

New York Islanders All-Star Brock Nelson did not capitalize on his shootout attempt Tuesday night, as he was stopped by Stars netminder Jake Oettinger, who was perfect on three attempts against.

In 25 career attempts, Nelson has seven goals (28 percent), with five of them shootout deciders, per NHL Records.

“There’s some video before every game on who’s playing, their shootout highlights, different things to look for,” Brock Nelson said. “At the end of the day, you got to go out there, and it’s just you verse him. Goalies are big, patient, and quick, so you try to get some sort of movement or an opening and take advantage of it.”

There are many fans who look at breakaway chances and shootout chances as similar situations, but they could not be more different.

“Such a difference,” Nelson said. “I feel like sometimes an open break in a game, just the angles a little bit different. So, I mean, even that, you factor that in. A couple of different options in the shootout, you know, what angle you’re going to take so, so much different.”

“I feel like in a game versus a shootout, there’s a lot more going on, obviously. [During regular play, maybe go and think about whether it’s, you know, another option kind of come in late, but in a shootout, it’s just a different animal.”

For rookie Simon Holmstrom, he has just one shootout attempt in his career, which came against the Colorado Avalanche in a 1-0 shootout loss. Avalanche netminder Alexandar Georgiev stopped him in that one.

But Holmstrom is known to have good hands, especially in shootouts, as you can see below from a morning skate in Philadelphia earlier this season:

“I mean, when I skate over the blue line, I usually decide what to do,” Holmstrom said. “I usually like to come in a little slower, just to be able to read off the goalie, see if he’s deep, down or if he’s far out, and then make a choice.”

Holmstrom also shared that it helps to have such strong netminders like Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov to practice on.

“I also think that everyone, all goalies play it differently. I think it’s good practice to try something different.”

GOALTENDERS POINT OF VIEW

Patience is a virtue, but for goaltenders in the shootout, it’s critical.

“It’s very important,” New York Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin told NYI Hockey Now. “It’s a battle of who makes the first move. It’s more like football [soccer], but here, for goalie, more chance [to make the save] than in football.”

As a goaltender, I was always trained that the goal was to match the speed of the shooter, as in the goalie should be moving back as fast as the shooter is closing in. But it’s all preference with goaltenders. Some like to be ultra-aggressive. Others do not.

Sorokin shared that he doesn’t even think about that. He thinks about nothing. He’s just watching the puck.

“Patience, patience, patience,” is how he closed out the interview.

Sorokin has been in goal for two of the Islanders’ three shootout losses, stopping three of five attempts.

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