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New York Islanders

Semyon Varlamov Back In Goal For New Look Islanders



AP Photo/David Zalubowski

East Meadow, NY– For the first time in 10 games, a goalie other than Ilya Sorokin will start for the New York Islanders.

Tonight against the Montreal Canadiens, Semyon Varlamov will be back in the crease for the Islanders, making his first start since suffering a lower-body injury on Jan. 2 in Colorado.

“I’ve done a lot of rehab in the past few weeks,” Varlamov said. “I’m glad it’s over and that I can just focus on my game. When you’re doing rehab and physical therapy, it just feels like it takes forever, so I’m glad it’s over. I feel healthy and ready to go.”

This will be the 13th start of the season for Varlamov. With a 2.78 GAA, a .918 save percentage and a record of 6-4-2 that includes two shutouts, Varlamov has performed well as the Islanders’ backup during a year in which Sorokin hasn’t always performed up to an elite standard.

Sorokin has rounded back into form in recent weeks, starting every game since Varlamov went down as part of a run of 15 straight appearances in goal.

“I’ve just focused on the simple things and what I can control to do my job,” Sorokin said. “I feel good, emotionally and physically.”

As well as Sorokin has played, and as good as he may feel physically, the Islanders likely didn’t love that he started that many games in a row without a break. Now that Varlamov is healthy once again, Sorokin can take a much-deserved breather.

However, things are a little different with the Islanders than when Varlamov last played after the team fired former head coach Lane Lambert.

That didn’t seem to be a bad thing in Varlamov’s eyes when he found out the Islanders hired Patrick Roy as Lambert’s replacement.

“I’m not gonna lie; I got goosebumps,” Varlamov said. “It’s great he’s joined the team because I believe he’s a great leader. He’s going to bring a lot of emotions to the locker room, and I think that’s what we need right now.”

Varlamov played for Roy with Colorado Avalanche from 2013-16. In 2013, Varlamov finished second in the voting for the Vezina Trophy and credits much of that to Roy.

“I always feel like I had a lot of support from him,” Varlamov said. “He would always give good tips for all the goalies who played during those years. We always felt like we had two goalie coaches, and we really enjoyed working with him.”

Roy shared the same sentiment about Varlamov as he won the Jack Adams Award that year. Now with the Islanders, Roy is eager to reunite with Varlamov.

“I’m excited to work with Varly,” Roy said. “I have so much respect for him and so much love for him because of what he did in Colorado and the relationship that we had together. I’m very happy to have him on our team.”

Varlamov’s return to action comes in a now highly anticipated game for the Islanders as Roy returns to Montreal, where he spent the first 12 years of his Hall of Fame playing career.

Puck drop between the Islanders and Canadiens is scheduled for just past 7 p.m. EST at Bell Centre.




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