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Islanders Playoff News: Game 1 to the Island, again

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A full team effort and a Varlamov shutout have the Isles up 1-0 in the series.

New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers - Game One
The wise elder had the game-winner.
Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

That was an extremely satisfying playoff win. The trade deadline acquisitions had the first two goals and the first line took advantage of the Flyers’ desperate pinching to set up a beautiful play. Barry Trotz’s structure of, loosely put, clogging the neutral zone and keeping most of the shots to the outside was executed beautifully. All while Semyon Varlamov continued his two-plus games of shutout hockey. Shutout playoff hockey.

Game 1 to the Island!

Let’s keep it going.

Recaps of Game 1

  • As Dom told me, these recaps are fun to write. [LHH]
  • They stuck to their identity, clinging to an early lead and waiting for the other team to open things up to capitalize on their mistakes. [Islanders]
  • Varlamov outdueled Carter Hart, who we have heard so much about. [Newsday]
  • And Varly doesn’t even feel like he did anything that special, saying he’s “just playing the game” and that the team in front of him is doing most of the work. [NHL recap | NHL GC]
  • Lots of good stuff in here, especially Andy Greene’s first playoff goal in over a decade and some shutout record bits. [NYI Skinny]
  • It was a “resounding Game 1 loss” in Flyers country and didn’t instill confidence for fans of the team worried about them just squeaking by the 24-seed Canadiens. [BSH]

Let’s hear from...

Varlamov and Greene:

Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anders Lee:

And Trotz:

Islanders-Flyers Tidbits

  • As the 6-seed (and entering play as the 7-seed), the Islanders have been underdogs throughout most of the playoffs. But they haven’t played like them. [Best @ Newsday]
  • Trotz’s lineup decisions for Game 1 paid off—Ross Johnston looked great, honestly. [Newsday]
  • That and six other takeaways from the game, including the Isles’ third period dominance throughout the playoff run. [The Athletic]
  • On the other hand, the Flyers really need their top two lines to get going. [NHL]
  • And Greene, with the game’s first and winning goal, as well as an ice dance to block a surefire goal, has been excellent since being inserted for Johnny Boychuk. [Newsday]
  • Charlie O’Connor, I believe formerly of BSH and now at The Athletic, makes ten astute observations about the Flyers’ second round opponent. Mathew Barzal is the king of the neutral zone.
  • Philadelphia coach Alain Vigneault expects the series to be “greasy.” [theScore]
  • After all, it is a rivalry match-up, and this figures to be a “new wrinkle.” [Newsday]
  • Not to mention, both teams’ fourth lines play a large role in the game they want to play. [Newsday]
  • LISTEN: Andrew Gross and co. preview the series in episode 45 of the Island Ice podcast. [Newsday]
  • Co-owner Jon Ledecky watched the Game 1 shutout from a replica of a suite of UBS Arena. [NHL]
  • Not playoffs, but in the same vein as the previous bit: ticket demand for the Isles’ inaugural season at their new home is “booming.” [Islanders]
  • The Islanders are grappling with life in the bubble pretty well and making the best of it. [Newsday]

Elsewhere

Last night’s other NHL score was the Stars going down 2-0 in Game 2 against the Avalanche before ripping off 5 unanswered to win 5-2 and take a 2-0 series lead going “home.”

  • In their next coach, the Capitals are looking for a guy with experience to keep their contention window chocked open. Someone to hold them accountable. Think Gerard Gallant, Peter Laviolette, or even Mike Babcock. [LeBrun @ The Athletic]
  • Meanwhile, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford says there is a “very, very good chance” he trades one of his pending RFA goalies, Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry. [NHL | theScore]
  • Likely trade candidate Johnny Gaudreau and interim head coach Geoff Ward want to be a part of the Flames’ future going forward. [NHL]