Semyon Varlamov faced both of his former teams during this run of five straight starts and was superb against both of them. The Capitals game was the only game during that stretch where he, personally, gave up more than two goals, which fits in well with the Islanders maxim of scoring three goals and usually winning. He got a little unlucky to be on the losing end against the Devils and the Maple Leafs—the team playing in front of him just couldn’t put the puck in the net, despite him only giving up two goals.
And last night, facing his most recent and most tenured team, with the most potent offense in the league, he kept the Avalanche off the scoresheet entirely. One Anders Lee goal was all he needed to ensure a win. And for that, we thank him.
His run of starts ends tonight, as Barry Trotz explained yesterday that Thomas Greiss would play tonight in the back-to-back in New Jersey. But he did his job over the last week and a half and for that we are thankful.
FIGs for tonight’s game in Newark go here. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.
And happy 20th birthday to Noah Dobson, who had, for my money, his best game as a pro so far last night. Imagine being born in 2000.
Happy Birthday Noah Dobson, who turns 20 years old today.— Eric Hornick (@ehornick) January 7, 2020
Last #NHL player to score on his 20th birthday - Nico Hischier, who did so 368 days ago (1-4-19) in Arizona.
Last #isles to score on his 20th birthday - Duane Sutter (twice) on 3-16-80 in Chicago.
- VIDEO: Barry Trotz liked the work of the new Nick Leddy-Ryan Pulock pairing and discussed the successful challenge of the one goal Colorado thought they scored. [Islanders]
- It was Varlamov’s first time facing the Avalanche. He said it felt good to beat them. [Islanders]
- Let’s preview tonight’s game against the Devils, shall we?
- As stated above, it will almost certainly be Greiss in net in New Jersey. [Newsday]
- They’re still having trouble scoring, though. What can they do about it? [The Athletic]
- The Athletic audited their preseason goalie tier rankings and bumped Varlamov up to Tier 2 from Tier 3. Huzzah!
- Among the kiddies, 2019 fifth-rounder Reece Newkirk and 2019 seventh-rounder Cole Coskey had big weeks. Wouldn’t it be nice if they panned out? [Islanders]
- There’s some news to cover in the other two games from last night, but the big league-wide news is that the Predators have fired Peter Laviolette as head coach. The position currently remains vacant, and the Predators play the Bruins tonight. [NHL | OTF]
- Okay, onto last night’s games: Ilya Kovalchuk made his Canadiens debut last night and had an assist in their loss to the Jets. Sounds like he just needs to get back in the rhythm. [NHL]
WHAT A MOVE. WHAT A GOAL.— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 7, 2020
New year, same Connor McDavid. ♂️ pic.twitter.com/mwNERgAx0X
And that’s no schlub defenseman, that’s Morgan Rielly he looked off. We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy! Man, even Toronto fans applauded him.
- Since we’re big on tiers today, here are the tiers of current non-playoff teams that are most and least likely to pull of a St. Louis Blues-esque run into the playoffs. [ESPN]
- Last night was my first chance to see Cale Makar up close, and holy hell is he incredible already. Potentially the most dangerous player on the ice last night. Here’s what some excellent NHL defensemen have to say about him. [The Athletic]
- Finally, a Ken Campbell take I can get behind: it’s absurd that the players at World Juniors don’t see a cent of the revenue, especially when it’s projected to raise $38 million next year because it’s in Canada. [THN]