November 3, 2019 / 1:48 AM / 15 days ago

Varlamov blanks Sabres as Islanders win 9th straight

EditorsNote: Fixes Varlamov’s shutout total to 26 instead of 27

Nov 2, 2019; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Otto Koivula (21) shoots the puck as Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (55) defends during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Semyon Varlamov stopped all 27 shots he faced Saturday night and Derick Brassard scored the game’s only goal early in the first period as the New York Islanders matched their longest winning streak in 30 years by beating the host Buffalo Sabres 1-0.

The Islanders have won nine straight for the first time since a nine-game run from Dec. 31, 1989, through Jan. 19, 1990. It is tied for the second-longest winning streak in franchise history behind a 15-game streak mounted from Jan. 21 through Feb. 20, 1982.

The 1-0 win was the first for the Islanders since they beat the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 19, 2016.

The Sabres have lost three in a row (0-2-1) since a 9-2-1 start. The 1-0 loss was the first for Buffalo since it fell to the Dallas Stars on Jan. 30.

Sabres goalie Carter Hutton took the hard-luck loss after stopping 20 shots.

The shutout was the 26th of Varlamov’s career and his first for the Islanders, with whom he signed in July. His previous shutout came Feb. 18, when, as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, he blanked the Vegas Golden Knights in a 3-0 win.

Brassard’s tally extended his goal-scoring streak to five games and came in fluky fashion a little more than five minutes into the game. Hutton stepped out of the net and went behind it to try and clear the puck, but Brassard got his stick on the pass. Anthony Beauvillier beat Sabres right winger Victor Olofsson to the puck and passed back to Brassard, who then dished into the crease toward a streaking Brock Nelson. But the puck ticked off the post and the skate of Hutton before trickling into the net at the 5:19 mark.

The Sabres outshot the Islanders 10-7 in the second period and nearly tied the score early in the third period on a power play generated when New York was whistled for having too many men on the ice. But Varlamov gloved Colin Miller’s second shot of the power play, a point-blank attempt made with three seconds left in the man advantage.

Beauvillier barely missed extending the lead with 5:57 left, when his backhand shot clanged off the left post and skittered away.

The Sabres pulled Hutton with 2:03 left but could not mount a serious scoring threat.

—Field Level Media

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