New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov of Samara, Russia has been sizzling in net to start the 2020-21 National Hockey League regular season. After blanking the New York Rangers 4-0 this past Thursday night, Varlamov got the start again on Monday against the Boston Bruins and posted his second shutout of the season in a 1-0 Islanders win.
Varlamov made 27 saves in the home win on Martin Luther King Day at Nassau Coliseum. He made 11 saves in the first period, six saves in the second period, and 10 saves in the third period. Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech led the Islanders with four shots on goal.
In two games to start the season, Varlamov has now made 51 saves on 51 shot attempts for a goals against average of 0.00 and a save percentage of 1.000. He now has 29 career shutouts since joining the NHL in 2008-09, including four with the Islanders.
There also seems to be a significant difference between the play so far this season of Varlamov, and the Islanders’ other Russian goaltender, Ilya Sorokin. In the Islanders’ 5-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday, Sorokin struggled mightily as he gave up five goals on 32 shots, and was clearly outplayed by Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev.
Offensively, in the Islanders in over the Bruins on Monday, Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the only goal of the game with 4:09 left in the third period. Pelech and Ryan Pulock picked up the assists.
Many believed the Bruins deserved a better fate on Monday. They controlled the play throughout, and outshot the Islanders 27-17. Boston’s struggles to start the year are not defensive, but offensive. In their first three games, they have been unable to score an even-strength goal. However, new Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron was able to score a shorthanded marker at 17:16 of the second period, in the Bruins’ 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.