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Semyon Varlamov and the New York Islanders are on a roll.
The veteran goaltender made 30 saves to defeat Andrei Vasilevskiy, and the Islanders had goals from Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock to fend off defending champion Tampa Bay 2-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup semi-finals .The Lightning lost a series opener for the first time in the playoffs. It’s also the first series deficit they’ve faced since dropping out of Game 1 of last year’s Cup Final against the Dallas Stars.
“In our mind, Varly is one of the best goalies in the league. When there’s a chance against him he’s been there all year for us, ”said Jordan Eberle of New York, adding that the Islanders build their confidence through victory.
“I think if you look at how the playoffs went for us, our game has continued to improve and that’s what you want to see. We’re in the bottom four, so you should have confidence. It’s obviously a good start for us, but we know they’re going to come out pushing the next game. “
Varlamov won his fourth straight playoff start, joining teammate Ilya Sorokin as the same team’s third pair of goalies to have personal winning streaks of at least four games in a single playoff series.
Sorokin has won four in a row in New York’s first-round victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Varlamov has won four games in the second round, including the last three as the Islanders rallied to take out the Boston Bruins.
“Guarding is a matter of timely stops. We have two who did it for us, ”Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “They did it all year round.
WATCH | Pulock’s goal in the 3rd period allows the Islanders to win Game 1 against the Lightning:
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