With his New York Islanders down 1-0 entering Game 2 of their playoff series at the Boston Bruins on Monday night, Isles coach Barry Trotz is keeping his starting goaltender between Game 1 loser Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov a trade secret, telling reporters Monday after the morning skate that it would be "A Russian left-handed goaltender." Yes, both guys are lefties from Russia. The Bruins are -210 favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook NHL odds.
Sorokin was fabulous in the previous series against Pittsburgh in winning all four of his starts with a 1.95 goals-against average and .943 save percentage. On the flip side, Varlamov hasn't played since May 20 when he allowed five goals on 27 shots in Game 3 vs. Pittsburgh. He went 0-2 in the series with a 3.61 goals-against average and .903 save percentage.
In Game 1 vs. Boston on Saturday, the B's were 5-2 winners thanks in large part to a hat trick from David Pastrnak. Sorokin allowed four goals on 39 shots – the fifth goal was on an empty net. The Bruins nearly doubled the Islanders in shots (40-22).
"I thought he played well ... they were buzzing, they were crashing the net," Trotz said of the 25-year-old Sorokin.
In the regular season, Varlamov was 5-1-0 with a 1.93 GAA and .943 save percentage vs. Boston and Sorokin 0-1-1 with a 2.23 GAA and .921 SV. Sorokin's active style is not considered a good match for the Bruins because Boston's top line of Patrice Bergeron, Pastrnak and Brad Marchand thrive on puck recoveries and Sorokin gives up a lot of rebounds. Most of the New York media think it will be Varlamov on Monday.
New York will remain without winger Oliver Wahlstrom due to a lower-body injury suffered in Game 5 vs. the Penguins. He had 12 goals and nine assists during the regular season.
Boston coach Bruce Cassidy has no goaltender worries as he will stick with former Vezina winner Tuukka Rask. He is riding a five-game winning streak during which he posted a 1.65 GAA and .943 save percentage.
The Bruins will not have winger Craig Smith after he was injured in Game 1. Jake DeBrusk will take his place on the second line with David Krejci and Taylor Hall. In addition, forward Karson Kuhlman will make his 2021 playoff debut and play alongside Charlie Coyle and Nick Ritchie on the third line.
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