New York Islanders star goaltender Ilya Sorokin is “feeling better” after an early exit during Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“He didn’t make the trip. He’s feeling better,” head coach Barry Trotz said of his netminder before Tuesday night’s game in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. “We’ll see where he is [Wednesday]. We’ll be back at the facility, it’s a day off, but he’ll be back there and he’ll be re-assessed.”
Trotz added that the hope for Sorokin is that he’ll be able to get back on the ice and skate with his teammates on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old netminder took multiple shots in the face that popped the straps on his mask on Sunday at UBS Arena. After 18 saves on 20 shots in the opening 40 minutes, he did not return for the third period, making way for veteran Semyon Varlamov.
Trotz was still unsure whether or not he was dealing with a concussion and that the league’s protocol made the call of lifting him from the game.
“I’m not sure how that worked,” he said. “Initially, he talked to our trainers, I think.”
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In his absence, the Islanders recalled veteran goalie Cory Schneider from their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport on an emergency basis to fill Sorokin’s roster spot. In the meantime, Varlamov will likely get the nod in each game New York’s No. 1 man isn’t available.
This is just Sorokin’s second full season in the NHL after making the jump from Russia, where he starred for CSKA Moscow in the KHL. He continues developing into one of the top goalies in the league, posting a 22-14-7 record with a .927 save percentage and a 2.30 goals-against average.
His six shutouts are one shy of tying an Islanders franchise record in a single season and currently ranks second in the NHL.
“He’s’ been huge [for us],” Trotz said on Sunday. “He’s a guy that can steal you games. Every night you feel you match up against the other goaltender on the other side no matter who it is in the league that you’re at least sort of on even ground.”