UNIONDALE, N.Y. — For the second start in a row, Ilya Sorokin was unpenetrable in net for the New York Islanders. His 20 save effort on Sunday — along with a pair of power-play goals — was good enough to help the Islanders defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 at the Nassau Coliseum.
However, it was one save in particular that stood out on Sunday and prevented Pittsburgh from battling back into the game. It came during the closing seconds of the second period and the Islanders up by two.
Sorokin had played a puck behind the net and left it for Nick Leddy to play. Once the Islanders defender had the puck, Leddy almost immediately had his pocked picked by Anthony Angello and set up a scoring chance for Sam Lafferty.
Luckily for the Islanders, both Noah Dobson and Sorokin were able to get over to make the stop on the would-be scoring chance.
“I think Ilya did a really good job,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “He made a very key save right at the end of the second period with 15 seconds to go. We let him out to dry a little bit and he made a huge save. That would’ve been a turning point.”
Indeed, had Pittsburgh scored it would have been as deflating a goal as any that the Islanders could have given up on Sunday. Allowing Pittsburgh to score with less than 20 seconds left in the period would have sent them into the locker room with all of the momentum to start the third period, and it’s been pretty well document what Pittsburgh can do when you give them a little bit of room to work with.
Instead, Sorokin and Dobson are both able to get over in time to make a game-changing stop in the closing seconds of the middle frame.
“It’s been a pleasure to play with him,” Josh Bailey said about Sorokin. “He’s a real competitor. He works really hard and he’s a fun guy to play in front of.”