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Islanders: Three Takeaways from 4-0 Domination over Rangers

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 14: The New York Islanders celebrate a power-play goal by Anders Lee #27 against Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers at 14:54 of the second period during the second period at Madison Square Garden on January 14, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 14: The New York Islanders celebrate a power-play goal by Anders Lee #27 against Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers at 14:54 of the second period during the second period at Madison Square Garden on January 14, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders pretty much dominated their cross-town rival New York Rangers on Thursday night. Winning by a final score of 4-0. Here are three takeaways from the one-sided affair at MSG.

The New York Islanders started the 2020-21 season on the right foot by putting it on the New York Rangers, 4-0 at Madison Square Garden. Here are three takeaways from the most delightful start to the season an Islander fan could’ve asked for.

1. Varly’s Quality Start

Semyon Varlamov’s performance on Thursday was steady and reliable, which is exactly what the Islanders needed from him.

Varlamov became only the second Islanders goalie to record a shutout on opening night. Joining the company of Chico Resch, who did it back in October 1976 at the old Forum in Philadelphia.

Thanks to an Islanders defense that didn’t give away many high-danger scoring chances, Varly made few highlight reel-worthy saves. But, the 32-year-old Russian looked comfortable, confident, and locked in from the first puck drop.

That also isn’t to say he had the easiest night at the office. Varlamov was probably the Islanders’ best player in the early second period when the Rangers came out appearing determined to chip away at the 3-0 deficit that had grown before them.

It was in the opening ten minutes of that second frame in which Varlamov earned his shutout. Turning away a number of opportunities, including a shot in the low slot from Chris Kreider, and the subsequent rebound attempt by dangerous center Mika Zibanejad.

It may sound cliché, unquantifiable, and stupid, but Varlamov just looked confident in this one. He looked like “summer bubble Varly”: the one who belly-flopped into the collective hearts and imaginations of Islanders fans over a six-week period from this August to mid-September.

This may be stating the obvious, but if the Islanders can get consistent goalie play like this from their Russian tandem, then they’re pretty well set-up in net for 2020-21. Especially if Varly and Ilya Sorokin can push each other to contend for the starting job.

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