Islanders: Semyon Varlamov Proved He Deserved The Start

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Semyon Varlamov was great after getting benched in Game 2, finishing with a .963 save percentage in a 3-1 win.

In Game 2, Semyon Varlamov was benched after allowing three goals in just over 15 minutes. The Islanders found success from Thomas Greiss who stopped 20 of 21 shots which some began to question who would start Game 3,.

To me, and Barry Trotz apparently, Varly was the no doubt decision. With all due respect to Thomas Greiss, Varlamov earned this starting job.

Including the start he got pulled in, he still had a .932 save percentage and a 1.76 goals against average. Truly remarkable stuff from the 31-year-old. He had 30 excellent periods out of 31, without a doubt he deserved the start in the crease.

He proved Barry Trotz right today. Yes, Philadelphia scored first in Period 1, but he settled in nicely and came up with numerous big saves tonight.

None were bigger than this gem in the third:

He finished the game stopping 26 of 27 for a .963 save percentage allowing just one goal along the way. In six of the Islanders 12 playoff games this year, Semyon Varlamov has allowed one goal or less. Unreal.

Before the series started, I said that Semyon Varlamov would outplay Carter Hart. Through three games, Varlamov has a .888 save percentage with four goals allowed while Carter Hart has a .902 save percentage with nine goals allowed.

It’s not quite there yet, because of the Game 2 clunker, but if Varly does what he has for 99 percent of the playoffs so far, he will be the better goalie in this series, I’m confident in saying that.

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With a back to back tomorrow, I still expect to see Varlamov in net in Game 4. They just had two days off and with how solid he’s been in the playoffs, I would continue to run the hot hand and I expect the same out of Barry Trotz.