At least for the time being, there is no goaltending controversy brewing on Long Island.

But Ilya Sorokin did not provide the bounce-back game the Islanders would have wanted to see from him on Thursday night.

After signaling some doubt in his confidence in Sorokin on Tuesday morning before putting in a rough first period during a 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes, Patrick Roy went right back to the star netminder on Thursday in Detroit for the most important game of the Islanders’ season.

And in a 6-3 loss, Sorokin stopped just 18 of 23 shots, getting outplayed by Detroit’s James Reimer, who stopped 33 of 36.

It was far from the only reason the Islanders were blown out in what amounted to a must-win game.

But the play of their goaltender on a night where the advanced stats showed the Islanders allowing just 2.5 expected goals and five high-danger chances did not rise to the occasion.

“I have a lot of faith, a lot of trust in him,” Roy told reporters pregame at Little Caesars Arena. “I spoke with him [Wednesday] and I’m not talking to him about how to stop a puck. It’s how I felt as a goalie and the mindset and stuff like this.

“I love him. He’s been playing so well for us. I love the way — that’s what exactly I said [Tuesday night] — he bounced back after the first period. Made awesome good saves, kept us in the game, gave us a chance to win. And I was very happy with him.”

Roy did not mention Sorokin after the game, but spent much of his press conference saying that the Islanders had played well enough to win — itself a tacit admission that the goaltending might not have been up to par.

“I was very happy with the performance of our team,” he said. “I get that we need to win games but we need to start by playing well. I just feel like lately, we haven’t been rewarded to what we deserve. Tonight, we deserved to win.”


Semyon Varlamov will start on Saturday against Winnipeg in the front end of a back-to-back, with Sorokin scheduled to play Sunday against the Devils.


Pierre Engvall was back in the lineup after being healthy-scratched on Tuesday against the Hurricanes, with Matt Martin coming out.


Robert Bortuzzo played his first game since suffering a high-ankle sprain against the Avalanche on Jan. 2, drawing in for Sebastian Aho.


Roy kept his top line the same but mixed up the other three, using Mat Barzal to center the second line with Anders Lee and Hudson Fasching.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau played on the third line with Pierre Engvall and Simon Holmstrom while Kyle MacLean moved to left wing on the fourth line with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck.

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