The New York Islanders had to fight back from going down 2-0 in the first period on Thursday to claim their two points, and they just did that.
Like has happened quite often recently, the New York Islanders fell behind in Thursday’s opening frame at the Boston Bruins. But, like another emerging trend, the blue and orange battled back over the next 40 minutes, eventually grabbing the two points on another Anthony Beauvillier overtime winner.
Here are three takeaways from the comeback in Boston.
1. Semyon Varlamov Had an Off-Night
We hadn’t seen Semyon Varlamov in a while. Ilya Sorokin started Saturday’s 6-1, and Monday’s 2-1 victories over the Philadelphia Flyers, the first consecutive starts of his NHL career, and Varly was allowed some rest during the week. The six day break is among the longer ones Varlamov has had all season, and so perhaps some rust was to be expected.
Whatever the case was, whether it was rust, not seeing the puck well, or something else, Varlamov struggled in the first period with what should’ve been a couple routine shots. Boston’s two opening frame goals came from a virtually identical position, just above the left face-off circle, from shots by Karson Kuhlman and Steven Kampfer.
Varly’s three goals allowed on Thursday came off of two low-danger shots from the left half-wall with some traffic in front, and a broken play on a shot from directly in front of the net.
The third was obviously less on him than the first two. That goal, scored by Anders Bjork, was the product of multiple defensive breakdowns by the Islanders. Adam Pelech failed to recover a Bruins dump-in to his corner, then Casey Cizikas couldn’t corral the loose puck, and finally, Brock Nelson totally blew his assignment on Bjork, leaving the Bruins winger wide open in the low slot.
Whatever the issue with Varlamov was, he did well to clean it up after the first period. He still looked to be fighting the puck most of the night thereafter, not comfortable and locked-in in his crease as he normally looks, not tracking the puck well. But, when it came down to it, he made enough saves to keep the Islanders in striking distance, and strike they did.