Whenever the Bruins visit the Islanders, whether it was at Barclays Center or the Coliseum, the Islanders could not keep up with them. During the first period, it looked like another one of those games.
But solid goaltending kept the Islanders in it and they played to the pace of the Bruins in the latter two frames. Semyon Varlamov kept his shutout up for the rest of the game, setting a new franchise record for most time to start a season without giving up a goal—he has two shutouts in two starts in 2021.
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First Period: Wake Up Gentlemen
The Islanders had to be happy that they came out tied 0–0. They had a couple shots in the first couple of minutes and they played well their last shift of the period. But other than that, Semyon Varlamov was the difference. The Islanders’ power play failed to register a shot-on-goal on their one opportunity this period.
One of the Bruins’ chances came off a rare miscue by Jean-Gabriel Pageau, a neutral zone turnover to be exact, leading to a blast from David Krejci off the rush. Thankfully, the cross-bar got in his way.
Boston received a power play chance—drawing the rare ire of Barry Trotz because the call was egregious—on which it nearly scored, but Varlamov stopped that one shot and the Islanders prevented any more from reaching their goalie. Killing that off led to the aforementioned good last shift.
Second Period: Ah, Good, You’re Up
The energy the Islanders brought to end the first period carried over to the beginning of the second, as the game opened up considerably.
A couple power plays went either way, including some four-on-four time, but nothing became of them.
Of note, Scott Mayfield crushed brief Islander Chris Wagner behind the net. It was a physical game—a good start to what will likely develop into a tense rivalry in the battle for playoff spots in the tight East Division.
Near the end of the period, Varlamov made a huge sliding save on a Bruins odd-man rush. The puck trickled over his pad but he stayed with it and got some help from his mates.
Varlamov keeping it scoreless #Isles | @NYIslanders pic.twitter.com/8WXfkLHZAx— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) January 18, 2021
Third Period: That’s More Like It
The Islanders’ power play remained uneventful, failing to score on an opportunity early on. The pace picked up during another four-on-four but the goals did not come.
It had the feel of a game that would end 1–0, like the team that finally scored would go on to win. As so often happens in games where both goalies are pitching a shutout, only the flukiest goal was going to go in. And the Islanders got that break with four and a half minutes left.
Adam Pelech fired from the point and Patrice Bergeron deflected it upwards. The puck peaked just below the height of cross-bar right in front of Tuukka Rask and Pageau was there to swat it in.
And it's Pageau with the first #Isles goal at the Coli this season! pic.twitter.com/GgfcsIXCNG— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) January 19, 2021
Not long after, Charlie McAvoy took a penalty against Anthony Beauvillier, reducing the amount of time Boston had to try to tie it up. The Islanders did not push it on the power play and then were able to hold off the Bruins in the final two minutes of the game.
The Isles have one more home game this month and it will be Thursday night. The Devils come to play the first half of a home-and-home set at 7:00 p.m. on MSG+.