• Isaac Brendel

Islanders Edge: Sorokin carries New York to game five double overtime victory

photo credit: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

What Ilya Sorokin has stepped in and done for the New York Islanders is remarkable. Being brutally outplayed by the Pittsburgh Penguins in game five of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series, the Isles needed a guy that would step up. Thankfully for them, in all three games, he has played in this series, Sorokin has been a brick wall.

Even with Sorokin standing on his head early on, Pittsburgh got out front early on the power-play when Evgeni Malkin ripped one top-shelf past Sorokin’s blocker. Late in the first, Anthony Beauvillier scored a highlight-reel goal to tie the game at one. Nowhere near enough, a goal was a goal, and it was one that was desperately needed back.

Just a few minutes into the second, Bryan Rust’s bomb beat Sorokin stick side to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead. The Pens continued to outshoot and outplay New York, but Sorokin continued to keep them in the hockey game.

Trailing 2-1 heading into the third period, the Islanders knew that a goal was needed or their season was in jeopardy. Sure enough, they got one 8:50 into the final regulation frame. Jean-Gabriel made a great play to get the puck to Leo Komarov, who found Jordan Eberle. Eberle delayed, waited, and finally shot to beat Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. To be in this game was one thing, but to be tied was another. Great teams find ways, and that’s exactly what Sorokin and the Isles did on Monday night.

The Pens killed off a light Isles power-play, and this game needed overtime to be settled.

Sorokin and Jarry were both sharp in the extra session, keeping their teams in the game. Sorokin turned aside eight overtime shots, with Jarry turning aside seven. Pittsburgh came close to scoring on a tip-in front. Sorokin didn’t see it until the last second and turned it aside, standing up with his pad. Through eighty minutes of play, the game was still tied at two apiece.

Less than a minute into overtime, Jarry made a potential series-changing mistake. He left his net to play the puck and put it right on Josh Bailey’s stick. Fifty-one seconds in, Bailey put the puck in the back of the net to give the Isles the 3-2 win and series lead. Sorokin’s dominance and Bailey’s awareness the entire game now has New York in the driver’s seat in this series, and they have a chance to win the series at home in front of the raucous Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum crowd on Wednesday night. Puck drop in game six is set for 6:30 PM Eastern Time.

In his postgame interview, Isles head coach Barry Trotz said they’ll need the Barn to be rocking on Wednesday as they look to finish off the Pens and move on to take on the Boston Bruins in the second round. They will need another strong performance from their netminder but also have to provide him with more support. Taking two out of three road games and holding an excellent home record this past regular season, Trotz and the Isles have to be very happy with where they are. Wednesday night is crunch time.

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