December 1, 2019 / 2:46 AM / 15 days ago

Greiss, Varlamov combine for Isles' shutout of Jackets

EditorsNote: minor edits

Nov 30, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov combined for 39 saves in a rare two-goalie shutout Saturday night for the host New York Islanders, who snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-0.

Greiss made the first nine saves before exiting for undisclosed reasons with 5:54 left in the opening period. Cameras captured an Islanders trainer checking the pulse of Greiss, who remained on the bench for the remainder of the game and embraced Varlamov following the buzzer.

The combined shutout is the third in Islanders history and the first since April 4, 1998, when Tommy Salo played the first 53:01 before receiving a game misconduct following a brawl. He was replaced by Wade Flaherty, who closed out the 3-0 win over the New York Rangers.

Greiss, who exited with a 1-0 lead, is the first Islanders goalie to ever earn a win after playing less than one period.

Anders Lee scored early in the first period, and Mathew Barzal scored late in the second for the Islanders, who went 0-2-1 on a three-game West Coast road trip.

Goalie Elvis Merzlikins made 25 saves for the Blue Jackets, who have alternated wins with losses over the last six games.

The Islanders took the lead on a nifty give-and-take between three of their top players just 78 seconds after faceoff.

Josh Bailey won a battle for the puck along the boards in the neutral zone with Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. The puck bounced to Barzal, who came to a stop near the crease as he was pursued by Columbus defenseman Dean Kukan, and passed across the ice to Bailey. The alternate captain made a tape pass to Lee, who fired a shot past Merzlikins as Cam Atkinson lunged unsuccessfully from behind.

Barzal created the Islanders’ second goal late in the second period. The center delivered an open-ice check to Blue Jackets right winger Oliver Bjorkstrand a moment before he would have received a pass from Seth Jones. Adam Pelech got a stick on the loose puck and sent a pass up the ice towards the streaking Barzal, who outraced Bjorkstrand to the net before flicking a backhanded shot past Merzlikins and off the top post with 3:59 left.

The Blue Jackets outshot the Islanders 17-6 in the third period, pulled Merzlikins with a little under four minutes left and had the game’s only power play in the final three minutes but couldn’t spoil the combined shutout.

—Field Level Media

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