RECAP: Ilya Sorokin earns first career win as Islanders blank Sabres

By Field Level Media
Feb 16, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Andy Greene (4) watches as Buffalo Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner (53) dives to make a pass during the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Ilya Sorokin made 20 saves to record a shutout and first win in his fourth career NHL game and Anders Lee scored twice, as the visiting New York Islanders extended their point streak to eight games with a 3-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored in a fourth consecutive game and added an assist for New York, which has won a season-high three straight games and is 5-0-3 since suffering three straight regulation defeats from Jan. 24-28. The Russian Sorokin, backup to Semyon Varlamov, starred in the KHL, but was 0-2-1 with a 3.65 goals-against average as an NHL starter this season prior to this contest.

Sorokin did not see many shots, but stepped up in stopping Taylor Hall’s breakaway in the first period and came up with a big glove save on Victor Olofsson’s point-blank chance with 12:10 left in regulation. It was the fourth time this season that the Islanders blanked an opponent.

Shut out for the second time in 2020-21, Buffalo has lost a season-high three straight games while playing for a second consecutive night following a 14-day COVID-19-related layoff. Olofsson, whose seven-game point streak ended, looked to have made it 2-1 with 7:21 left in the third period, but an Islanders’ challenge that Buffalo was offside on the play was confirmed.

For the second straight night, Lee opened the scoring. This time, he pushed in a perfect cross-slot pass from Noah Dobson just 4:43 into the first period. Pageau then scored for the fifth time in four games on a quick release that blazed by Buffalo netminder Carter Hutton (21 saves) with 8:02 left in the opening frame.

Lee added an empty-netter as time expired.

Buffalo failed to convert on its two power-play chances, ending a streak of six straight games scoring with the man-advantage. The Sabres, 2-5-1 at home, did record eight shots in the third period after failing to post one in the final frame of Monday’s 3-1 loss to New York.

–Field Level Media