UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Anthony Beauvillier scored twice and Semyon Varlamov blanked the New York Rangers as the New York Islanders punched their ticket to the playoffs with a 3-0 win at Nassau Coliseum.
It was the second time in three seasons that the Islanders clinched a playoff berth at the Coliseum, with the last time occurring on March 30, 2019. Saturday marked just the second time since 2002 that the Islanders have clinched on Coliseum ice and it’s the first time since 2002-2004 that the Isles have made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.
“I think tonight we’re just going to enjoy (the win and playoff berth),” Barzal said. “It’s always exciting to be back in the playoffs and doing it tonight against the Rangers is an even better feeling. We’re excited as a group. We have some games here to fine-tune our game before playoffs, but tonight we’re definitely going to just enjoy it. We’re excited.”
— Christian Arnold (@C_Arnold01) May 2, 2021
The trip to the postseason was one of several storylines from the Islanders’ win over the Rangers. Beauvillier’s two-goal night extended his successful run against the Rangers, which has seen him record 23 points (13 goals, 10 assists) in 21 career games against them.
It was also his first multi-goal night since April 3 against the Philadelphia Flyers when he scored twice as well.
“I don’t know what it is,” Beauvillier said about his success against the Rangers. “It’s easy to wake up and play the Rangers. Just the rivalry goes years and years. Playing them at the Coli, having rangers fans and Islanders fans in the building you can just feel the energy and the atmosphere in the building. It makes it a little bit easy for sure to be motivated and get fired up for the game.
“I really enjoy playing the Rangers and they’re always big games.”
If that wasn’t enough, Islanders starter Semyon Varlamov broke a 45-year-old franchise record for the longest shutout streak. The record of 178:29 was originally set by Chico Resch during the 1975-76 season.
Varlamov’s shutout streak currently stands at 213:56 and it was his seventh shutout of the year. Four of those have come against the Rangers.
“It was a great achievement for sure for me personally,” Varlamov said about breaking Resch’s record. “I think for this team, this is a team sport and there’s no way I could do this without my brothers. They work hard for me every game and like I said there’s no way I can do it without them. They’ve been playing outstanding in front of me defensively, offensively scoring goals.
“I appreciate everything they do for me and this is beautiful.”
Saturday’s win moved the New York Islanders back into third place in the East Division with 67 points. The Boston Bruins had leaped frogged them earlier in the day with a win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Beauvillier scored the first goal of the night less than five minutes into the first period. Andy Greene was able to send a pass up the ice to Josh Bailey, who took the puck into the Rangers zone.
Bailey skated along the wall and then threaded a pass through the legs of Ryan Strome to Beauvillier for the goal in the slot.
— x – Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) May 1, 2021
Barzal made it a two-goal game off a breakaway goal at 16:22 of the first period. Josh Bailey forced a turnover in the Islanders’ end and pushed the puck up to Barzal. The New York Islanders star put on the jets and backhanded the puck past Georgiev.
Beauvillier made it a three-goal game 1:02 into the second period. The Islanders forward fired a wrist shot that hit the inside of the far post and went in.
“I’m really proud of the group,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “They’re a very committed group. The crest on the front is the most important thing for this group. They take a lot of pride. This group wanted to get back to winning ways. We did the first year and in the bubble, we felt that we had a really good team. We came in with the right attitude and then the same thing this year coming back. … We’re not done. The group wanted to tick this off to get into the playoffs and then try to finish as high as we can.”
Saturday marked potentially the final time the Islanders and Rangers will face one another at the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders are scheduled to move into their new home at UBS Arena in the fall.