Semyon Varlamov of Samara, Russia became the first goaltender this season to record three shutouts. On Monday night at Madison Square Garden, Varlamov made 30 saves as the New York Islanders beat the New York Rangers 2-0.
Varlamov made nine saves in the first period, 10 saves in the second period and 11 saves in the third period. Left winger Phil Di Giuseppe of Toronto, Ontario led the Rangers in shots on goal with six.
This was Varlamov’s second shutout against the Rangers this season, and second shutout at Madison Square Garden. He previously blanked the Rangers on January 14, in the Islanders opening game of the season, by a score of 4-0. Varlamov also blanked the Boston Bruins 1-0 on January 18. That is Boston’s only loss this year in regulation.
On the season, Varlamov has a record of five wins, two regulation losses, and one loss in extra time. He also has a stingy goals against average of 1.87, and a save percentage of .932.
There is no doubt that a Barry Trotz defensive-type system benefits goaltenders statistically, and that is one of the reasons why Varlamov is leading the NHL in shutouts. So far this season, Varlamov is only seeing 27.4 shots per game. When he was with the Colorado Avalanche in 2013-14, Varlamov was on the NHL’s Second All-Star team, led the NHL in wins with 41, saves with 1867, and save attempts with 2013. It should be noted that season, Varlamov was seeing 31.9 shots per game.
Offensively for the Islanders on Monday, the Islanders got two third period goals in a span of two minutes and five seconds. Casey Cizikas of Toronto scored the game-winning goal at 11:15 of the third period from Matt Martin of Windsor, Ontario and Adam Pelech of Toronto. Then at 13:20 of the third period, Martin scored a key insurance marker from Mathew Barzal of Coquitlam, British Columbia, and Cal Clutterbuck of Welland, Ontario. In addition to playing for the Islanders, Martin is known in the sports world as being the son-in-law of former Cincinnati Bengals Pro Bowl quarterback Boomer Esiason.
With the win, the Islanders are fourth in the East Division with 12 points. They are one point up on the Pittsburgh Penguins for a playoff spot.