Prior to Game 2 of their East Division, second-round series Sunday at the TD Garden, New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz did not name a starting goalie against the Boston Bruins.
In the end, Trotz went with Semyon Varlamov over Ilya Sorokin, who lost Game 1 Saturday night, 5-2. Sorokin allowed four goals, but not all the goals could be considered his fault. Not to many people’s surprise, Varlamov got the call in the Isles, 4-3, overtime win in Game 2, and he continued his good season against the Black and Gold.
Just how good has Varlamov been in 2021 against the Bruins? Let’s look at what he did during the regular season against Boston.
During the regular season, Varlamov went 5-1 against Boston with a 1.93 goals-against average with a .943 save percentage (SV%). He allowed just seven goals on 79 shots. Monday night in Game 2, he made 39 in the OT victory. Expect to see Varlamov, who played in just two goals against Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, to get the call in Game 3.
Over the seasons, there have been goalies who have frustrated or had the Black and Gold’s number and if things continue to trend in the same direction in the series, you might be able to add Varlamov to that list.
It’s not like Varlamov had a bad year, he has just played his best against Bruins it seems. He won 19 games this season and some felt he should have been in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy.
Regardless, if the Bruins are going to get by the Islanders, they are going to find a way to beat him three times more than likely and at least once on Long Island where the Bruins went winless in four games.
With an extra day off this week between Games 2 and 3, hopefully, the Bruins find a way to get more pucks past Varlamov. Sticks and bodies to the net, that combination worked against the Washington Capitals.