Semyon Varlamov is 39 seconds away from breaking an Islanders playoff record, and it is in the form of what he has done in the last 2 games.
The New York Islanders entered Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs following a 4-1 series win in the First Round against the Washington Capitals. The win for the Islanders was so disappointing for the Capitals that after spending two seasons with the team, head coach Todd Reirden was fired following their elimination from the playoffs in the first round for the second-straight season.
The Islanders entered the second round against the top-seeded Philadelphia Flyers, who are coming off a 4-2 series win over the Montreal Canadiens, the first playoff meeting between these two teams since 1987, with the Flyers defeating the Islanders back then in seven games and reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
At the start of the game, the Islanders took advantage of early turnovers and much time spent in the Flyers zone, allowing Andy Greene to find his first playoff goal as an Islander 6:06 into the game, his first postseason goal since 2010 when he was still a member of the New Jersey Devils.
The Islanders started to cool down in the second period as opposed to the first period when the Flyers started to gain some momentum when spending a lot of time in the Islanders’ zone throughout the period, but no score was made by either team, allowing the Islanders to stay up 1-0 at the end of the second period.
Then, the third period is when the Islanders started to run away with their lead for good. 2:54 into the third period, Jean-Gabriel Pageau finds open space in front of Carter Hart and takes his shot for his fifth goal of the postseason. Six minutes later, the Islanders captain Anders Lee gets his shot past Hart to extend the lead to three.
With the loss in sight, the Flyers decided to add an extra man and empty the net with eight minutes left, but Devon Toews, not even aware of the change, shot the puck away initially hoping for a clear, but sees that with the net unguarded, the puck slides easily into the net for a 4-0 Islanders lead, and eventually the result.
With the Islanders spending a lot of time in the Flyers’ zone throughout the first period, Carter Hart had to step up and play his role defensively as a goaltender, and despite allowing a goal, made many masterful saves that keep the game from getting out of hand early on.
While Carter Hart’s progress eventually declining throughout the game, Varlamov never struggled. Both teams had 29 shots on goal, and while Hart only saved 25 of them, Varlamov saved all 29, allowing him a second-straight shutout of the postseason after achieving one in their last game against the Capitals. Varlamov has not allowed a goal in 136:20, which is the second-longest playoff shutout streak in franchise history, just 39 seconds behind Billy Smith’s record dating back to 1980.
The Islanders will look to extend their lead over the Flyers as they will face each other again in Game 2 on Wednesday afternoon at 3 pm.