For many of the Islanders after the game, it was the save of the night. New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin bore down on Semyon Varlamov on a breakaway with a chance to snap a scoreless tie 1:57 into the third period.
Panarin has a reputation as a bit of an Islanders killer, but a moment that looked as though it would crush the Islanders turned into one they fed off of in their 2-0 win over the Rangers.
The Rangers star found himself behind the Islanders’ defense when took a bank pass off the boards and charged towards Varlamov. The Isles netminder stayed with Panarin the whole way, tracking the puck right into his glove while staying big in his net.
The end result was a huge glove save by Semyon Varlamov to keep the game even.
“The bench got a lot of life from that,” Matt Martin said about the save. “It’s a huge moment in a 0-0 hockey game in the third period. The first goal was going to be huge and you have one of the best players in the league coming down all alone. Varly makes a hell of a save and then we’re able to get some life from that and pot the next one.”
Semyon Varlamov finished the night with 30 saves in his third shutout of the season and he became the first Islanders netminder to blank the Rangers twice in the same season. However, that feat wouldn’t have been attainable had Varlamov not made the game-changing save.
In fact, it could have been the start of a slide the other way for the Islanders. Moments after the save on Panarin, Varlamov had to make another tough save when an odd-man rush ensued allowing Mika Zibanejad a good opportunity as well.
“When you face shots against the biggest players in the league and you make the save, of course, it gives you some boost during the game,” Varlamov said. “You want to make that save. I thought those were key saves in this game. We needed those saves and then we scored a little bit later. What can I say, I’m pretty excited I made the saves today.”