BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The NHL needs to beware of Ilya Sorokin.
The New York Islanders goaltender is among the league leaders in save percentage, goals against average, and is tied for the lead in shutouts.
Sorokin is basically a lock to be a Vezina Trophy finalist as one of the league's top goalies, and his puck stopping skills were on full display in Tuesday's 7-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Sorokin made 25 saves in the win, a reasonable number of shots against in today's NHL. But, as Gil Martin of Locked on Islanders points out, it's still an impressive performance considering the opposition.
"Sorokin really came up big, especially early when you've got a skilled team lile the Maple Leafs with Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews," Martin said
"When you've got a team like that on the ice, you've got to be playing your best as a goaltender, and he really came up big as the Islanders could have easily been down 3-0 easily in the first period if not for Ilya Sorokin."
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Sorokin and the Islanders have won three games in a row, gaining a hold on the Eastern Conference's first wild card spot as a result.
The Islanders have a three point lead on the Florida Panthers and a four point lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins, albeit with more games played than both pursuers.
It's an impressive run considering they've been without star center Mat BArzal for several weeks.
Leading scorer Brock Nelson had to leave Tuesday's game with an apparent injury, meaning Sorokin's strong play could be even more necessary moving forward.
Sorokin is the kind of goalie that can steal a game or even a series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and should give the Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, or New Jersey Devils reason to pause come the opening round.