BUFFALO — Ilya Sorokin started Tuesday night’s game against the Sabres at KeyBank Center just as he started the first three games of this road trip, including a back-to-back.
It’s his net until Semyon Varlamov clears COVID-19 protocol.
“If there’s any silver lining it’s that we don’t have any back-to-backs,” coach Barry Trotz said. “Sorokin can play the games.”
The Islanders next back-to-back is Feb. 26-27 in Los Angeles and Anaheim. By then, Varlamov should be back with the team.
Varlamov was scheduled to start Saturday’s 5-2 loss in Calgary but the team learned he tested positive after he took warmups.
Trotz said Varlamov must remain quarantined in Calgary for a minimum of six days — the first day he tested positive plus the next five days, which would take him to Thursday. Varlamov must also show two negative tests to clear quarantine.
The Islanders open a five-game trip in Seattle next Tuesday and it’s possible Varlamov could rejoin the team there.
“He has to be in Canada for a minimum of six days but you also have the testing part of it,” Trotz said. “He’s got to get some negative tests. At this point, I haven’t heard of him having any negative tests.”
Cory Schneider, on an emergency recall from AHL Bridgeport, is serving as Sorokin’s backup.
Defenseman Andy Greene was a healthy scratch for the first time this season as Trotz opted to dress Sebastian Aho for his first game since Dec. 19, a stretch of 16 games. Greene, 39, missed four games from Nov. 20-26 while in COVID-19 protocol.
Ross Johnston, in the lineup for the first three games of this road trip and one game shy of finally playing in his 100th career game despite making his NHL debut in 2015, was a healthy scratch along with Kieffer Bellows.