Friday, January 22, 2021

Varlamov the difference as Islanders beat Avalanche

Semyon Varlamov made 32 saves to deny his former Avalanche teammates as the Islanders break a two-game skid.

New York Islanders Semyon Varlamov put on a goaltending masterclass making 32 saves to deny his former team the Colorado Avalanche, as the Isles snapped a two-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory over the Avs at the Nassau Coliseum.

“It feels good, I’m not going to lie,” Varlamov said. “To beat Colorado 1-0 is huge. That’s probably the best offensive team in the NHL.”

Anders Lee grabbed the only goal of the game during the third period in an entertaining encounter as the Isles extended their winning streak over the Avs in New York to six games.

The Islanders limited the NHL’s number one scoring team to just five shots on goal during the first period. Pavel Francouz would go on to make 32 saves for Avalanche during the night. His left pad denied Anders Lee the best opportunity during the early stages as the Islanders put 15 shots on goal. Both teams failed to capitalise on power play opportunities as the first period ended scoreless.

Varlamov
Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

The Avalanche flipped the script during the second period as they outshot the Islanders 15-9. The first real save of note coming after 110 seconds as Varlamov denied Ian Cole.

Avs goaltender Pavel Francouz made two saves in quick succession. The first via a backhand from Ryan Pulock, then from Anders Lee who failed to gather the rebound which presented a two-on-one opportunity for Ryan Graves who failed to lift the puck beyond the outstretched left pad of Varlamov.

Nikita Zadorov did breach Varlamov’s goal midway through the second period, however, the goal was overturned for offside following a coaches challenge. The Avalanche continued to threaten throughout the second period as Gabriel Landeskog pounced on a rebound off Nathan MacKinnons slap shot inside the final three minutes, but Varlamov stood firm once again.

The breakthrough came on 6.54 as Anders Lee unleashed a wrist shot from the left circle as he was driving towards the net, giving Pavel Francouz no chance between the pipes for his twelfth of the season (the Isles first goal in 139 minutes 21 seconds).

Possibly the save of the game during the midway point of the third period as Varlamov’s outstretched leg pinned the puck between his skate and post to deny Gabriel Landeskog. The Isles dug deep during the closing moments to ensure a 27th career shutout for Semyon Varlamov.

Up next

New York Islanders @ New Jersey Devils.

Colorado Avalanche @ New York Rangers (both games on Tuesday)

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