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In the offseason, the New York Islanders surprised many by not re-signing Robin Lehner and going with Semyon Varlamov instead. Lehner had a terrific 2.13 goals against average for the Islanders last season and won the William M. Jennings Trophy with Thomas Greiss and the Bill Masterton Award.
The Islanders did negotiate with Lehner on a new contract, but when they could not come to terms, Lehner signed with the Chicago Blackhawks and New York signed Varlamov to a four year contract worth $20 million. It would be a change of scenery for Varlamov, who had spent the last eight seasons with the Colorado Avalanche after beginning his career with the Washington Capitals.
So far this season, Varlamov has been solid in between the Islanders net. He has a record of five wins and two losses with a goals against average of 2.14 and save percentage of .929.
In his last start, Varlamov picked up his first shutout with the Islanders and 26th shutout of his career as the Islanders beat the Buffalo Sabres 1-0. Varlamov made six saves in the first period, 10 saves in the second period and 11 saves in the third period for 27 saves overall.
Derick Brassard of Hull, Quebec scored the only goal for the Islanders. He notched his fifth goal of the season from Anthony Beauvillier of Sorel, Quebec at 5:19 of the first period.
Brassard meanwhile now has one goal in each of his last five games. During that time he has also has one assist for six points, is a +6 with two penalty minutes, one game winning goal, 14 shots on goal, seven hits, two blocked shots and five faceoff wins.
The Islanders are red hot themselves. They have now won nine straight games dating back to October 12 and have outscored their opponents 31-16 in that time. The Islanders are currently in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 20 points and five points back of the first place Washington Capitals.