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Islanders Semyon Varlamov surprisingly not in lineup tonight

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 18: Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Nassau Coliseum on March 18, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 18: Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Nassau Coliseum on March 18, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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In nets tonight for the New York Islanders is Ilya Sorokin. After a sloppy outing on Saturday against these same Washington Capitals, it’s surprising that Sorokin is in net for back-to-back games.

This should have been a Semyon Varlamov start. It’s not to say Sorokin is bad, but his performance the other night does not warrant a return between the pipes. Not when the Isles have a goalie boasting a 2.12GAA and 0.926SV% in Semyon Varlamov that should be able to step in.

Not to mention that Varlamov has back-to-back shutouts against the Capitals. But tonight, Varlamov won’t start he’s not even dressed. Cory Schneider will serve as the backup for the Islanders.

New York Islanders need Varlamov down the stretch

Maybe this is the birthday present Varlamov wanted? The Russian netminder turns 33 today.

There’s no statement from the team on why Varlamov isn’t in the lineup tonight. Hopefully, this isn’t anything serious because as I’ve said, Varly holds a 2.12GAA and 0.926SV% on the season. That has him sixth in goals-against average and tied for fourth in SV% on the season for goalies who’s played at least ten games.

And it doesn’t stop there. According to Hockey-Reference, Varly is third for goals saved above average with 15.31. He’s also fifth for quality starts with 21. Only the cast of Vezina favorites has more quality starts than Varly.

It’s no understatement to say that the Islanders goalie duo of Varlamov and Sorokin is a big reason they’ve been as good as they are this season. The teams’ combined 0.918SV% is second in the NHL behind only the Vegas Golden Knights.

Ideally, Varlamov is day-to-day here. But if Varlamov is out for an extended period of time Ilya Sorokin will be given a big opportunity to stake his claim as the team’s starter going forward.

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