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New York Islanders

Overlooked No More, Varlamov Rises in Playoff Charge | NYHN+

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New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov

Hockey players are if nothing else, humble when it comes to their accomplishments. So when Semyon Varlamov tried to downplay his latest postseason heroics on Monday it should come as no surprise.

What should come as no surprise anymore either is just how instrumental he has been to the New York Islanders playoff run.

Varlamov completed his second consecutive playoff shutout in Game 1 against the Philadelphia Flyers in a 4-0 Islanders win. The Islanders starter stopped 29 shots, including 15 alone in the second period, to help secure the series-opening victory.

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New York Islanders

Semyon Varlamov Dominant in Shutout Win Over Boston Bruins

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Semyon Varlamov

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Semyon Varlamov didn’t miss a beat on Monday.

Despite missing his scheduled start on Saturday due to a freak injury during warmups, the veteran goaltender was on the ice and in command of his net in the New York Islanders 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins. Varlamov made 27 saves as he became the first goalie in franchise history to record shutouts in their first two games of the season.

“I can tell that’s the best result I’ve ever had after two games,” Varlamov said. I’ve never had back to back shutouts at the beginning of the season. I mean I’ve had some seasons where I’ve felt great, but still, the outcome is different. I’m glad it happened this way and I’m pretty happy about the result.”

Semyon Varlamov was dominant in his second outing of the year on Monday. The Islanders’ netminder withstood what felt like a barrage of shots Boston threw at him over the course of the 60-minute contest.

Varlamov is only the 14th goaltender in NHL history to start the season with shutouts in his first two starts.

It was up in the air if Varlamov would even be able to start on Monday. He was injured by a shot during warmups on Saturday night and was forced to miss the game.

“I got hit in the face during warmups,” Varlamov said. “It happens you know. I felt a little dizzy. It happens. I felt fine the next morning. I skated yesterday, felt pretty good after practice. Barry decided to put me in the net. I felt pretty good today.”

The Russian goalie held Boston at bay early in the game. Boston tilted the ice in their favor through the first 20 minutes of the game, pressuring the Islanders and outshooting them 11-3.

The Islanders managed to right the ship as the game went on, it was the early effort from Varlamov that helped the Islanders turn the tide.

“I thought early he was a big reason we got a win tonight,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “He made some really good saves against a very good hockey team. He just calmed our game, gave us a chance. In the second period, we got our feet moving and started to play more to our identity.”

The shutout win certainly had plenty of people excited, Varlamov tried to keep the situation within perspective after the game

“I’ll take back-to-back shutouts, I’m not going to lie,” Varlamov said. “I’m pretty happy today. But this is just the beginning of the year, a lot of games coming. We played well today and I’m glad we scored the important goal in the end.”

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New York Islanders

SHOT AT REDEMPTION! Islanders Lineup, Matchups and Game Notes vs. Boston

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New York Islanders lineup vs. the Boston Bruins

Take a deep breath Islanders country, Semyon Varlamov is able to be part of the New York Islanders lineup in today’s game against the Boston Bruins.

The veteran netminder will be available for the Islanders when they host Boston this afternoon at the Nassau Coliseum. It will mark the first time the Islanders have played at home since March 7 of last year when they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime.

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More importantly, it will be a chance for the Islanders lineup to redeem themselves after an ugly loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday.

“Obviously that wasn’t the game that we wanted, the outcome we wanted,” Scott Mayfield said this morning. “I think this season another wrinkle in it is that every game is pretty much a four-point game. You’re right on to the next one. You don’t have a lot of time to think about it and we just have to focus on Boston now.”

Despite some thought to the contrary, it appears as though head coach Barry Trotz will use a similar Islanders lineup to the one that was on the ice against the Rangers. The Islanders coach said that he wanted to give the group a chance at a bit of redemption.

News that Varlamov is also welcomed news after he missed his scheduled start on Saturday after taking a shot up high in warmups. Ilya Sorokin made his NHL debut and allowed five goals in the shutout loss to the Rangers.

County Exec Laura Curran Remains Hopeful Fans will Be Allowed in Coliseum This Season

Trotz was not happy with the team’s performance all around that night, from injuring their own goaltender to the sloppy play in the game.

“The game wasn’t lost in terms of the Xs and the Os of the game,” Trotz said. “The game was lost in terms of the focus and the mindset that we had going into that game. Our team has always been pretty resilient and we started focusing on the wrong things. … where we went off the rails was our mindset and those are the things you can control internally.”

While Boston isn’t coming off a lopsided loss like the Isles, they did suffer a heartbreaking one on Saturday in overtime to the New Jersey Devils. Boston also has not scored a five-on-five goal through the first two games of the year.

Boston will start Tuuka Rask in net against the Islanders and Odrej Kase will be out with an upper-body injury. Jack Studnicka will take his place in the lineup.

New York  Islanders Lineup (Projected)

Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle

Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — JosBailey

Ross Johnston — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Kieffer Bellows

Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck

Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock

NickLeddy — Scott Mayfield

Andy Greene — Noah Dobson

Semyon Varlamov

Ilya Sorokin

Boston Bruins Lineup (Projected)

Brad Marchand –- Patrice Bergeron –- Jake DeBrusk

Nick Ritchie –- David Krejci –- JackStudnicka

Anders Bjork –- Charlie Coyle –- Greg McKegg

Trent Frederic –- Sean Kuraly –- Chris Wagner

Jeremy Lauzon –- Charlie McAvoy

Matt Grzelcyk –- Brandon Carlo

Jakub Zboril –- Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Jaro Halak

Game Notes

The Islanders have three players who have active consecutive game streaks of at least 200 games (Lee 270, Nelson 247, Barzal 234). … Ilya Sorokin was the first Islanders’ goaltender to make their NHL debut against the New York Rangers. … The Islanders have struggled against Boston. They are 1-7-2 in their last 10 games against Boston and the Islanders have not won against them at home since 2013. … This afternoon wraps up a three-game road trip for Boston, which played the New Jersey Devils twice to open the season. … Brandon Carlo is playing his 300th NHL game and Matt Grzelcyk is playing his 200th NHL game today. … David Pastrnak is one assist shy of 200 in his career.

How to Watch

Today’s game will air locally on MSG+ or it is streamable on MSG Go or on NHL.tv outside of the New York market. NBCSN will also air the game nationally outside of the market. On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 1050 AM ESPN, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.

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Arena News

County Exec Laura Curran Remains Hopeful Fans will Be Allowed in Coliseum This Season

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An inside view of the New York Islanders home arena
Photo Credit: Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

When it comes to the idea of fans attending New York Islanders games at the Nassau Coliseum this season, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran isn’t giving up hope.

The Islanders open the home portion of their schedule on Monday against the Boston Bruins, but the home opener will have a different feel in front of an empty building. The 2020-21 season is the final year the Islanders will play at the Coliseum, with their new home at Belmont Park slated to open this fall.

“Never say never would be my motto,” county executive Curran told NYI Hockey Now about the prospects of fans attending games at some point. The Nassau County Executive spoke with NYI Hockey Now over the phone on Sunday.

There’s been renewed hope that fans might be able to return to sporting events in New York in a limited capacity following the success of the Buffalo Bills allowing 6,700 fans to their two playoff games at Bills Stadium. Fans were allowed to attend after being tested for COVID-19 before entering the stadium and adhering to social distancing rules once inside the venue.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed a desire to use the Bills model to open up other sports and entertainment venues in the state.

County Exec Laura Curran Cheering on New York Islanders from Quarantine

The county executive acknowledged the success of the Bills plan, while also noting that there was a difference with the NFL team playing outdoors. Nassau County also has to weigh the financial benefits of opening the building to a limited number of fans if they get to that point.

“One thing you have to think about is even limited attendance, say 25 percent, is a real economic loser for the building,” Curran said. “You don’t have the people buying concessions and beer and all that. You still have the cost of opening, the cost of security and staffing. It might not be worth it.”

The county executive said that the Islanders were exploring what that number might need to be to make it economically feasible to open the Nassau Coliseum to fans, but that it was still too early to come up with a solid figure for that.

Nassau County has been having ongoing conversations with the state government about how to adapt the Bills plan for the Islanders and other venues on Long Island, Curran said.

The county executive has been a vocal supporter of both the Islanders’ UBS Arena at Belmont Park and the team’s early full-time return to Long Island before the opening of the new venue this fall. Curran lobbied NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to allow the Isles to play all their home games at Nassau Coliseum during their final year before the move to Belmont Park.

On Jan. 29, Gov. Cuomo announced that the Islanders would return to the Coliseum for one full final season during a press conference at the team’s long time home.

“This is the last season, I wrote that letter to Gary Bettman saying can we have the last season at the Barn,” Curran said. “He said yes, so I’d at least like to have something. Some fan activity there if we can. It depends on the vaccine. It depends on what the state allows us to do in terms of capacity and it depends on what makes sense financially for the building.”

During an interview with News 12 Long Island, the county executive expressed optimism that fans could be allowed back in the building in time for the playoffs. It was a sentiment she reiterated during her conversation with NYI Hockey Now.

“I do believe it’s within the realm of possibility,” she said.

There was some question last year whether the Islanders would even be able to play at the Nassau Coliseum or not after the venue was shuttered by Onexim Sports and Entertainment in June. The county was able to work out a deal so that businessman Nick Mastroianni would take over the lease and operations of the venue.

“It’s county property so he is now our tenant until we work out a longer-term deal,” Curran said. “This was a good way to handle this moment, especially if we can open up. Especially if we can have games in the Coliseum we needed someone there ready to operate the building and he’s doing that.”

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