Isles' Ilya Sorokin superb, steals a win in Carolina with 34 saves
RALEIGH, N.C. — At some point, Ilya Sorokin was probably going to have to steal a game for the Islanders in this first-round series against the Hurricanes.
He finally did in the Islanders’ 3-2, season-saving win in Tuesday night’s Game 5 at PNC Arena with 34 saves.
“I’m just trying to think about what I can control about my game,” Sorokin said. “Period by period play and try to win.”
Not that Sorokin had been bad in the first four games. But he did allow five goals on 29 shots in the Islanders’ 5-2 loss in Sunday afternoon’s Game 4 at UBS Arena.
The Hurricanes have victimized the Islanders multiple times on backdoor power-play goals in the series.
But Sorokin’s best save in Game 5 came in the second period as he slid to his left to stop Seth Jarvis’ backdoor power-play attempt.
“Last game it was the same goal,” Sorokin said. “Today I was lucky he made a shot into my glove.”
The Islanders held the lead at the first intermission for the first time in 25 playoff games. But it took a coach’s challenge from Lane Lambert to snap that streak.
Stefan Noesen needed just 16 seconds after Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov was whistled for interference at 17:32 of the first period to convert a backdoor pass for an apparent power-play equalizer.
But Lambert challenged that Noesen was offside at 17:49, nullifying the goal. The Hurricanes would have gone right back on another power play had Lambert lost the challenge.
“You have to be pretty sure, first and foremost,” Lambert said. “It was clearly offside so we felt like that challenge was warranted.”
Liking UBS Arena
Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce grew up in Tarrytown. But it’s not a long trek from Westchester County to Nassau and he said he had a “bunch” of friends and family at UBS Arena for Games 3 and 4 for the first-ever playoff games in the Islanders’ new home.
“UBS was cool, a really loud atmosphere,” said Pesce, comparing it to Madison Square Garden. “It has the same feeling. The Islanders have super passionate fans. I knew that firsthand growing up.”
Zach Parise blocked a game-high four shots . . . Hurricanes goalie Antti Raanta lost a home playoff game for the first time in his career. He was 8-0 entering Game 5 . . . Isles forwards Josh Bailey, Simon Holmstrom and Ross Johnston, defensemen Samuel Bolduc and Parker Wotherspoon and goalie Jakub Skarek remained the healthy scratches . . . Hurricanes goalie Frederik Andersen dressed as Raanta’s backup for the first time since Game 1. He missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury after not dressing for Games 2 and 3 because of illness.