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Islanders Goalie Ilya Sorokin Made Arguably The Save Of The NHL Season To Rob Erik ​Gustafsson

Stupendous saves come in all shapes and sizes, and while Blackhawks netminder Alex Stalock had a crazy stick save of his own last night on Nathan MacKinnon — all due respect to Barstool Chicago — that wasn't really a pivotal moment. The Blackhawks wound up getting smoked 5-0 by the Avalanche, and really that's OK. The more they keep losing, the better chance they have at the No. 1 overall pick and Connor Bedard.

You can see the visual evidence above. The save itself by Ilya Sorokin is stupid good. I mean, we're talking about a guy whose fully body is completely out of position. Sorokin's full extension of that stick was the Islanders' last line of defense, and Maples Leafs defenseman Erik Gustafsson fired it right off the paddle. Unreal.

But what makes this stop all the more impressive is the larger context. Toronto has an excellent offense and tons of star power up front led by Auston Matthews. The Leafs boast the NHL's sixth-best goal differential; New York is third-worst in first-period scoring with 50 goals on the season. So many Isles games have been a grind until the first intermission.

In a tight playoff race, Toronto has plenty to play for to maintain the No. 2 spot in the Atlantic Division standings ahead of the mighty Lightning. Meanwhile, New York is scrapping for a Wild Card berth, so every night carries so much weight. Already trailing 1-0, with the real potential for Tuesday's face-off at UBS Arena in Elmont to get ugly very quickly, Sorokin stepped up and shined when his club needed it most.

What happened from there, you ask? Sorokin's sick-ass save seemed to inspire the Isles. They didn't allow a single shot on net for the rest of the opening period, rattled off three unanswered goals in the second stanza, and tacked on four more (including an empty-netter) in the last 20 minutes to rout the Leafs 7-2.

If you've not checked in on hockey in a minute, now is a great time. Thanks to skids by the Capitals and Penguins, this three-game winning streak by the Isles has really given them leverage in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race. 

Two straight Conference Finals losses for New York preceded last season's failure to make the playoffs. Thanks in no small part to Sorokin's momentous stoning of Gustafsson, maybe it'll mark the turning point where we see yet another frisky Islanders club make some noise and go further than many would expect. 

PS, this save from Colorado's Jonas Johansson recently was filthy as well:

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