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game recap

Varlamov makes 32 saves, Islanders shut out Avalanche

Goalie faces former team for first time; Lee scores only goal

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

Varlamov's 32-save shutout

COL@NYI: Varlamov shuts out Avalanche

Semyon Varlamov earns a shutout against his former team in Islanders win over Avalanche

  • 02:01 •

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Semyon Varlamov made 32 saves, including 12 in the third period, and the New York Islanders ended a four-game skid at home with a 1-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Nassau Coliseum on Monday.

It was Varlamov's first game against the Avalanche since signing a four-year contract with New York on July 1, 2019. He played the previous eight seasons with Colorado.

"Of course I'm excited to meet my previous team," said Varlamov, whose shutout was his second this season. "I played for them for a long time, for eight years. Of course this one is a special one.

"It was really weird, I'm not going to lie. It was very weird. But I guess I just tried to stay focused on my own things. I just tried to do my own job. I'm glad we won."


[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Islanders highlights


Anders Lee scored for New York (26-12-3), which was 0-3-1 in its previous four home games, all at Nassau Coliseum. 

Pavel Francouz made 32 saves for Colorado (25-14-4), which had won two straight.

"That's the staple of their game, real committed defensively, real good in almost all defensive aspects of the game," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "That was the type of game we were expecting.

"We had some chances to capitalize and we didn't. I thought [Varlamov] was really good in their net, [Francouz] was good in our net. They controlled the play in the first. We controlled the play in the second. It's tough to create scoring chances and when you had them, you just needed someone to capitalize on one. They did it once and we weren't able to." 

Lee scored with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle at 6:54 of the third period to give New York a 1-0 lead. It was the Islanders first goal in 139:21.

Video: COL@NYI: Lee wires home wrist shot

"You want to get one for the boys," Lee said. "We've all been gripping it a little tight lately. We're in a 0-0 hockey game in the third period in our building and it was just a good opportunity to win a game. Just to get one, I think it was a relief for everyone really."

Varlamov preserved the lead when he saved three attempts by Gabriel Landeskog at the left post with 9:42 remaining, then against Nathan MacKinnon from right in front of the crease with 4:36 left.

The Avalanche, who were 0-for-2 on the power play, had a chance to tie it when Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield was called for interference with 7:38 remaining, but New York's penalty kill did not allow a shot on goal.

"I've got to give our guys credit, they were outstanding on the PK," Varlamov said. "We didn't give them too many scoring chances."

Video: Varlamov earns a Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Nikita Zadorov appeared to score at 13:51 of the second period, but Islanders coach Barry Trotz challenged, and the goal was overturned after a video review determined Andre Burakovsky entered the zone offside.

"As soon as the puck came over (the blue line) and they started getting a little bit of zone time, both our video guys said it was offside," Trotz said. "They were very adamant it was offside, and they've done a great job. 

"If they scored that first goal, I don't know if we have the same mindset. [Varlamov] was First Star, but [the video coaches, Matt De Mado and Corey Smith] might be 1B. That was huge for us." 

Varlamov kept it scoreless with a left pad save on Ryan Graves' backhand attempt during a 2-on-1 at 7:15 of the second period. He also made a glove save on Nazem Kadri's backhand shot at 12:11 of the second.

"I think we had our chances, we just didn't get bounces and one that just didn't go in for us," Graves said. "It was a tight game. We played a really good game, I thought. We've just got to look at the positives."

Video: Clutch Performance: Lee lifts Islanders over Colorado


They said it

"One of the things they did tonight is they did a really nice job blocking our point shots. We had a lot of opportunities and a lot of shot attempts from the point, and we didn't get a whole lot through to the net. Their wingers did a really nice job coming out to our guys and get into shooting lanes." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar

"[The goals] will start to come. We've scored enough goals in plenty of games and we've just gone through a stretch now where we've been a little dry as a team. We'll work through it. Every team goes through it. I think the way we're set up, because we keep teams to 1-2 goals a night, three on a bad [night], it almost looks more glaring when you don't win those games because you're not scoring. But we just stick with it, keep working and try to build every night." -- Islanders captain Anders Lee


Need to know

It was the second time the Avalanche were shut out this season; they lost 3-0 at the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 2. … Francouz made 15 saves in the first period; Varlamov made 15 in the second. … The Islanders tied a team record with 33 blocked shots.


What's next

Avalanche: At the New York Rangers on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, SNE, SNO, NHL.TV)

Islanders: At the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Video: Varlamov, Islanders shut out Avalanche

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