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Islanders vs. Boston: Jean-Gabriel Pageau pulls his team to victory

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JANUARY 18: The New York Islanders celebrate the game winning goal by Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 (R) at 15:51 of the third period against the Boston Bruins at the Nassau Coliseum on January 18, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders shutout the Bruins 1-0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JANUARY 18: The New York Islanders celebrate the game winning goal by Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 (R) at 15:51 of the third period against the Boston Bruins at the Nassau Coliseum on January 18, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders shutout the Bruins 1-0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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This game was about bounce back. After dropping their second game of the season to the New York Rangers by a score of 5-0, the New York Islanders needed to put that performance behind them with a strong effort against the injured Boston Bruins.

The B’s were without 19-20 Rocket Richard winner David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase. Meaning the Bruins would ice an improvised top-six. One that hasn’t scored a 5on5 goal all season.

With no changes to the lineup outside of Semyon Varlamov actually getting to start the game, Barry Trotz’s message to his team was clear: “I trust you to not do that again.” It was up to the player to deliver on that faith from their coach.

High Danger New York Islanders

If you’re going to get in a game you probably want to score goals. And in order to that, you have to shoot the puck, probably from a high-danger area, right? One of the biggest tells for how poor the Isles were against the Rangers was in the high-danger column.

Over the full-60 on Saturday the Islanders registered zero high-danger attempts against Alexandar Georgiev. That’s a problem in a typically low-quantity high-quality system that the Islanders run.

Through 40 minutes against the Bruins, the Islanders had three. Anders Lee, Kieffer Bellows, and Ross Johnston would get them for the Isles. Three doesn’t sound like much but through those 40 minutes, the Isles held a 60% HDCF.

Which was one of the only positives to takes from the game where the puck was rarely finding its way towards Tuukka Rask. The Isles would add another two in the third to get a 62.65% HDCF through 60 minutes.

One of those third-period high-danger chances came from Jean-Gabriel Pageau who was clearly paying homage to the Mets picking up Francisco Lindor with this baseball-like swing for the only goal of the game.

Varlamov

The fact that Semyon Varlamov was back in the crease after having to sit out on Saturday from a reported jaw injury was good news. No knock against Ilya Sorokin, but Varlamov has been a steady presence between the pipes for a while.

Something that continued in this one where the Russian goalie pitches back-to-back shutouts for the Isles. He faced 27 shots tonight (on 44 attempts) and stopped them all. Thankfully, his team was able to cut out some of those high-dangers attempts. The Bruins registered three over the entire game.

Coach Happy

Barry Trotz will be pleased to get a rare win at home against the Boston Bruins. (The last time the Isles won at home against Boston was in November of 2013). It wasn’t a pretty game but his team limited high-danger shots against, created their own, and took few penalties. That is going to please the coach after his team played like junk on Saturday.

Winners

Semyon Varlamov: 1.00SV%, 27 saves
Jean-Gabriel Pageau: 1 goal, 1SOG
Adam Pelech: 1A, 4SOG, 2 blocks

Losers

(This is going to be tough no one had a particularly bad game for either side.)

Jack Studnicka: 1 block (that’s it)
Bruins top line: They allowed a 5on5 goal against. That’s rare.
Anders Bjork: 1 hit, 1 takeaway (Also, got knocked into last week by Cal Clutterbuck.)

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