• Isaac Brendel

Islanders Edge: Jarry, Pens hold off Isles in game two victory

Updated: May 21, 2021

photo credit: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Things couldn’t have started any worse for Semyon Varlamov and the New York Islanders on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. After a questionable decision by Isles head coach Barry Trotz to start Varlamov over young goaltender Ilya Sorokin, who won game one for New York, it was clear from early on that Varlamov, and the boys in blue and orange didn’t have nearly the start they needed to put themselves in position to take game two. Varlamov let in two softies early on, and the Isles did not generate enough chances in the first to help their netminder out.

Josh Bailey netted a picture-perfect backhand 14:44 into the second period, which provided the blue and orange with some hope. Brock Nelson (1) and Scott Mayfield (1) were credited with assists on the goal.

A chippy game kept on getting chippier, and with under two minutes remaining in the third period with New York’s net empty, Pittsburgh’s Bryan Rust was sent to the penalty box for closing his hand on the puck. New York’s six-on-four display was nothing short of pathetic. Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry stood on his head throughout the game and secured a 2-1 victory for his team.

Trotz’s questionable decision turned out to not be so terrible. Besides the softies allowed, Varlamov turned aside 43 of 45 shots. While the Isles faithful hoped to see Sorokin back between the pipes for the second game, Varlamov wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. Two goaltenders that can hold their own come playoff time is something not many teams have, and the Isles have that. With this series now tied at one apiece, game three on Thursday at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum becomes perhaps the most intense game thus far in this young series. Puck drop from the Barn on Thursday is set for 7:00 PM Eastern Time.

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