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Islanders highlights: Top 5 saves of 2019-20 so far

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 12: Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders skates against the Florida Panthers at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on October 12, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 12: Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders skates against the Florida Panthers at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on October 12, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The season isn’t over just yet, but while we wait for the New York Islanders to get back on the ice, let’s remember some of the best saves from 2019-20, so far.

Yesterday I went through the top five goals from the New York Islanders 2019-20 season so far. Now, today, I want to go through the top five saves.

To me, there’s nothing better than a highlight reel save. When a sure goal is about to be scored and when fans are already halfway out of their seats ready to cheer and then, out of nowhere, a glove, a pad, a toe, or a stick stops the puck and the premature celebrations dead.

Instead, the crowd is left mouth agape and wondering “how did he do that”?

Here are five times a New York Islanders goalie (or skater) did exactly that his season. So far.

5. Jordan Eberle Gets Between the Pipes (November 9)

It’s not only goalies that can make a big stop in the game. On November 9, Jordan Eberle got in the crease to stop a sure goal at the hands of Florida Panthers forward Brett Connolly.

Thomas Greiss was down and out. There was no way for the Isles goalie to stop Connolly who was surely going to tie the game at one.

But Jordan Eberle did everything he could to block the net and prevent that sure goal from going in. Mission accomplished.

4. Varlamov’s Strong Glove Hand (December 9)

With Pat Maroon alone on the doorstep and Semyon Varlamov sprawling to get into position, it looked like the 2019 Cup champion with the St Louis Blues would have an easy tap in goal.

But Varlamov was able to get his mit in the way and prevent Maroon from basically willing the puck across the line with the follow-through.

Just look at Maroon’s reaction after Varlamov’s stop. He thought he had that one.

3. Brett Connolly Can’t Buy a Goal (Dec 12)

Brett Connolly just couldn’t buy a goal against the Islanders in 2019-20. Almost a month after Jordan Eberle stopped him in Brooklyn, Connolly found himself with a wide-open net and his team down a goal with minutes left in the third period.

There was no way Thomas Greiss could get there, right?. This would be the tieing goal that would push the game to OT. This time he’d score. Right?

“Nein” said Greiss. Watch how he gets there just in time to stop Connolly. Incredible.

2. Stick tap (February 16)

You can look at a desperation save in one of two ways. Either that the goalie should have been in a better position to make a regular save OR you could be amazed at the sheer athleticism demonstrated by a goalie to recover and stop a sure goal.

Enter Semyon Varlamov on February 16th against the Vegas Golden Knights. Deep in the second period, with Vegas on a power-play, Varly is caught and it looks like Vegas will take the 1-0 lead. Until he gets a stick to the puck. I choose to look at a desperation save like this as an incredible act of athleticism.

Here’s a better view of the goal that I can’t embed in this post because it wasn’t shared by an official NHL source.

1. Varlamov Wicked Awesome Robery (December 19)

Anders Bjork already had a goal in this game and was looking for more. Charlie McAvoy tried to set up his teammate with a sweet pass through the slot. All Bjork had to do was get it on net for the easy goal.

Bjork did exactly that. But Semyon Varlamov had other ideas.

The Isles goalie reaches across the net and nabbed Bjorks one-timer with a savage glove save.

Johnny Boychuk‘s reaction to Varlamov stopping this sure goal is absolutely priceless.

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