Ilya Sorokin the latest goalie to serve as Penguins' playoff kryptonite

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May 25—Pittsburgh Penguins fans of a certain age to this day detest Jaroslav Halak.

Those of more recent vintage get a sour taste in their mouths when someone brings up Robin Lehner.

And don't dare mention Glenn Healy to Pittsburgh hockey fans from the early 90s.

Penguins fans awash in misery, meet Ilya Sorokin. He's the latest goalie to flummox your team.

Sorokin made 48 saves Monday night during Game 5 at PPG Paints Arena and served as the primary reason the New York Islanders prevailed, 3-2, in double overtime to take a 3-2 series lead.

"It all goes on Ilya," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "We don't have a chance if he doesn't have an outstanding game."

The Penguins were statistically dominant, particularly in regulation. Before overtime, the Penguins had sizable edges in shots on goal (41-20), attempted shots (67-26), scoring chances (28-12) and "high-danger" scoring chances (12-3, per naturalstattrick.com).

But Sorokin was up to the task, as he has been all series. The Islanders have won each of the three games he's started.

"You've got to give him credit," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "He made some big saves. We had a significant amount of scoring chances. Rebound chances. Deflection chances. Traffic at the net. There was a lot of opportunity there. We put a lot at the net."

An NHL rookie appearing in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time, Sorokin has stopped 116 of the 122 shots he's faced in his 218 minutes in the series. That's a 1.65 goals-against average and .951 save percentage.

In none of the three games he's played in this series was Sorokin better or more tested than Monday. Contrasted to the Penguins' Tristan Jarry — whose puck-playing gaffe cost his team the game — it's safe to safe the chasm of the difference in the goaltending during Game 5 provided the result.

Sorokin's performance was reminiscent of former Islanders goalies Healy (1993) or Lehner (2019), or former Montreal Canadiens backup-turned-star-of-the-series Halak (2010) — each of whom stymied the Penguins during the playoffs.

"I can't stress enough how well Ilya played tonight," Islanders forward Josh Bailey said.

Sorokin spent much of the season as a backup to fellow Russian Semyon Varlamov. But Sorokin started Game 1 because Varlamov was dealing with an undisclosed injury. Trotz went back to his 33-year-old, 13-year NHL veteran for Games 2 and 3, each of which the Penguins won.

But Sorokin was back in the net for Saturday's Game 4 and came within 2 minutes and 35 seconds of a shutout. He had three shutouts among 21 regular-season starts, including Feb. 28 against the Penguins.

It remains the only game during 2021 the Penguins did not score.

The Penguins, though, got to Sorokin for four goals in less than half a game's worth of minutes during a March 27 game.

That clearly did not carry over into the playoffs — especially during Game 5.

"He was obviously really big for us tonight," New York forward Anthony Beauvillier said. "We couldn't have won it without Ilya."

A third-round pick of the Islanders in 2014, Sorokin didn't make it over to North America to play until this season. He has starred, though, in the Kontinental Hockey League and in international play. He led CSKA Moscow to the Gagarin Cup two years ago, being named the playoffs MVP in what is generally regarded as the world's second-best hockey league. Sorokin also led Russia to the 2018 Olympics gold medal and three times medaled in world championship play.

In short, he's not your average NHL rookie — especially after going 13-6-3 with a 2.17 GAA and .918 save percentage during his first regular season.

During a game in which his team was by far outplayed, Sorokin showed he's up to the challenge of playoff pressure, too.

"Ilya played great, a real backbone for us," Bailey said. "He gave us some confidence that he was going to get the job done, so we just had to stick with it find away to get it. And ultimately, we did."

Keep up with the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at cadamski@triblive.com or via Twitter .