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Turning Point: Varlamov’s Breakaway Save on Vesey With Islanders Down 1 in 3rd

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New York Islanders, Semyon Varlamov

After what we saw Monday night against the Calgary Flames and a week and a half ago against the Colorado Avalanche, did we think the New York Islanders would not come back in the third period against the New York Rangers?

Trailing 3-1 entering the third period, the New York Islanders had the belief they could come back and win, and they did, 4-3.

Rapid Recap: Islanders Come Back (Again), Beat Rangers 4-3

Adam Pelech’s first of the season, just 16 seconds into the final frame, gave the New York Islanders added confidence as the Rangers’ lead was now just a goal with a whole period left to play.

One could argue that Pelech’s goal changed the tide of the game as the New York Islanders began putting together much stronger offensive shifts and started to take control of the game.

But the turning point of the contest came about seven and a half minutes after Adam Pelech scored.

With under 12:30 to play in regulation, an Oliver Wahlstrom shot was blocked, and a quick pass up the ice sprung Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey on a breakaway with Sebastian Aho caught up ice.

As Vesey crossed over the blue line, the thought was “This is the game right here.”

If Varlamov could make the save, he would give the Islanders an extra life. But if Vesey scored, the Islanders would be down two goals again, and all their hard work in the first eight minutes of that period would be for not.

You could not rule out a two-goal comeback with 12 minutes to play, but it’s increasingly harder to accomplish, especially on the road.

Despite being caught pretty far back in his crease, Semyon Varlamov read Jimmy Vesey’s five-hole shot and reacted accordingly.

As he made the save, his momentum almost carried him into his goal. While he was sliding back, the puck was sliding the other way toward the goal line, but Varlamov jumped on the loose puck before Alexis Lafreniere poked it home.

Not all saves need to look pretty, and as mentioned, Semyon Varlamov got caught a little too far back in his crease.

“Huge,” New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson said when asked about Varlamov’s play in the comeback. “I mean, both goalies, that’s a broken record, always saying the same things. And I mean, the breakaway save there to keep it, you know, keep us in it and give us a chance…It’s huge, and that’s the turning point.”

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