The New York Islanders may have beaten the Washington Capitals 8-4 the last time out, but this 1-0 win will please Barry Trotz way more. His team stood up to a tough Capitals squad and instead of just going on an offensive parade, they played strong defense and shut them out.
The Caps were going to be desperate to avenge that 8-4 drubbing the other night and were going to do their very best to get the Isles off their game. Early into the game, Barzal fell for their games and took an ill-disciplined interference call. Thankfully, the Isles PK stood up to the task then and through the rest of the night.
It was a team win, but Semyon Varlamov was the reason the Islanders were able to win this one by a single goal.
New York Islanders tied for first in East Division with win
Semyon Varlamov (29 saves, 1.00SV%): With a shutout, tonight (his fourth of the season) Varlamov’s stats jump to a 0.922SV% and a 2.23GAA. Incredible stuff from Varly.
He has a bad game here and there, of course, every goalie does, but tonight he was absolutely perfect in net. The team helped him. The Caps had two power plays but only managed a single shot on the man advantage.
Brock Nelson (1G, 4SOG): All the Islanders needed was one chance to ice the game. It came in the third period after a strong forecheck by the second line of Bailey-Beauvillier-Brock Nelson. The three have been perfect recently netting 15 points over their last five games.
Add another one tonight with Brock getting the goal off a Bailey tip. Beauvillier doesn’t get a point on the play but if not for him jamming that puck lose on the forecheck there is no goal.
Ryan Pulock (1A, 5SOG, 3.69GS): That last stat is Ryan Pulock‘s game score. While he only got a secondary helper on Nelson’s goal, he did enough on and off the puck to count for nearly four points tonight.
His 3.69 game score lead both teams and was powered by an incredible 1.83 xGF and tiny 0.54 xGA. It’s the type of game Barry Trotz wants all of his defensemen to play.
Mathew Barzal (2PIM): The Capitals were going to try and goad an Islander or two into penalty trouble. Mathew Barzal took the bait. He’s an incredible player but on some nights he gets in his own way.
Jordan Eberle (3 posts): The team’s top RW seemed like he was out there playing the post-challenge by hitting all three bars. All Jordan Eberle needed was to find twine, Vanecek was not allowing it.
Scott Mayfield (-2.07 GS): Just like Pulock, I’m using game score here. Scott Mayfield has been struggling of late and it continued today. His -2.07 GS was the lowest for both teams a 0.98xGA to a 0.25 xGF did not help him today.