Semyon Varlamov stopped all 32 shots he faced in his first career appearance against the team with whom he spent the previous eight seasons, as the New York Islanders beat the Colorado Avalanche, 1-0, on Monday in Uniondale, N.Y.
Anders Lee scored the game’s only goal 6:54 into the third period, as the Islanders ended a two-game losing streak. The Avalanche had their two-game winning streak snapped.
The shutout was the second of the season and the 27th of his career for Varlamov. The Avalanche were the only team Varlamov had never opposed prior to Monday night.
Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz recorded 32 saves.
The Islanders scored the game’s lone goal after Michael Dal Colle corralled a loose puck in the neutral zone and passed to Devon Toews, who hit Lee in stride as the center skated up the left side of the ice. Lee shuffled the puck for a couple seconds before firing a shot past Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves, who slid to try and block the puck, and under the glove of Francouz.
Lee’s goal was the first for the Islanders since Brock Nelson scored in the second period of a 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils last Thursday — a span of 139 minutes and 21 seconds.
The Avalanche nearly tied the game with a little more than four minutes left, but Varlamov turned back Nathan MacKinnon on the doorstep, and Gabriel Landeskog’s rebound sailed wide of the open crease.
The Islanders outshot the Avalanche 15-5 in the first period before Colorado mounted the most serious scoring threats in a second period, in which it outshot New York 15-9.
Varlamov turned away Graves at point-blank range to end a two-on-one opportunity for the Avalanche at 4:21 of the second. Nazem Kadri swooped in from the left and tried to fire a backhand shot high over Varlamov’s shoulder, but the Islanders’ net-minder made the glove save with 7:49 left.
The Avalanche seemed to break through 100 seconds later when Nikita Zadorov’s shot from the blue line snaked past a screened Varlamov, but the Islanders challenged, and the goal was overturned because Colorado left winger Andre Burakovsky was ruled offside.
The scoreless tie through two periods marked the third of the season for the Avalanche and its first since Dec. 19, when Colorado fell to the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-1. The Islanders hadn’t been engaged in a scoreless duel through two periods since Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last Apr. 26, when they fell to the Hurricanes, 1-0, in overtime.
—Field Level Media