Players and coaches say they are blinders, and then, usually, there is reality.
Case in point: Lane Lambert, speaking to reporters minutes after the Islanders beat the Capitals in Wednesday night’s shootout, already knew the Panthers had beaten the Maple Leafs.
But then there’s Ilya Sorokin, whose ability to fix everything really does seem like the stuff of a sports psychologist’s dream.
Here was his response after a 2-1 win in Washington, asked about his enthusiasm to play in the post-season:
“I don’t think about it. Just a game. Not thinking much. Just one day and control what you can control. That’s it.”
And regarding the way the Islanders have been playing, has their season changed over the past eight weeks?
“I don’t know,” Sorokin said. “I’m not focused on the team.”
This is where it goes from cliché to reality, because it’s generally not considered PR-speak if you don’t focus on the team.
For Sorokin, however, that is what is at his core and what has helped turn him into such a weapon for the islanders.
This ability to focus entirely on himself and seemingly never get distracted is directly behind Sorokin’s ascension to stardom.
Rarely has this been more evident than in his recent play, on which Sorokin is 8-1-1 in his last 10 starts, even though he rarely has a day off, in 44 games since December. 34 starts from. 18.
With six games left in the season, Sorokin is expected to play a total of 60 games.
Lambert said, “I’ve never been a goalie, but I think you have to block everything out and just worry and focus on what you’re doing.” “You’re on the ice for 60, 65 minutes. Whatever can happen on a given night. I think he does a really good job and it’s helped him find success.
Pierre Engvall’s second period goal against Darcy Kuemper marked the fourth time in four career shots against Kuemper that Engvall had made.
Kuemper made the save on Engvall later in the game.
The Islanders returned to New York and will practice on Friday before their game in Tampa on Saturday.
The Lightning defeated the Isles 5–3 on Oct. 22 in the only game between the teams this season.