Islanders blank Rangers 2-0, Varlamov earns 3rd shutout

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin scored 2:05 apart in the third period to help Semyon Varlamov and the New York Islanders beat the New York Rangers 2-0 on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

Varlamov made 30 saves for his third shutout this season — second against the Rangers — as the Islanders won their second consecutive game. Islanders coach Barry Trotz earned his 850th victory, passing Ken Hitchcock for third place on the NHL’s career list.

“If you look at his track record, everywhere he’s gone success has followed him,” Martin said of Trotz. “He along with Lou [Lamoriello] and the rest of the coaching staff built a strong culture, make us play the right way and hold us accountable every single night. He’s a coach every guy in the room loves playing for.”

Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 shots, but the Rangers’ four-game point streak ended.

Cal Clutterbuck’s aggressive forecheck created a turnover in the third period and the Islanders capitalized. Adam Pelech fired a shot from the point and Cizikas stuffed home a loose puck at 11:15 to snap a scoreless tie.

“We’re keeping our game simple and we’re playing to our strengths,” Cizikas said. “That’s creating chances and it’s turning into success for our line. The way we’re playing and the way we’re jelling right, it’s a good feeling and it’s something we can build off of and get better at each game.”

Just more than two minutes later, Martin buried a feed from Clutterbuck right in front. Mathew Barzal extended his point streak to six games with an assist on the play.

“These guys are no-nonsense players. They play a straight-line game,” Rangers coach David Quinn said of the Islanders’ fourth line. “In a game that’s getting less physical, they bring an element of physicality to the game shift in and shift out. Those players are few and far between this day and age.”

Two of the best chances for the Rangers came early in the third. Star forward Artemi Panarin had a breakaway but Varlamov denied him with a glove save. Shortly afterward, Mika Zibanejad had a good opportunity but could not beat the Russian goaltender.

“It’s definitely a tough team to play against,” Zibanejad said. “They are structured, do a lot of good things defensively. You just have to give them credit. We have to find a way to have an answer for that and we didn’t do that tonight.”

Varlamov became the first Islanders goalie to shut out the Rangers twice in one season. He made 24 saves for a 4-0 victory in the Jan. 14 opener between the crosstown rivals.

The teams don’t meet again until April 9, then play each other five times in 23 days.

∫ Home cookin’: Due to several changes to the NHL schedule because of COVID-19, the Rangers are in the middle of an eight-game homestand, their longest of the season. The stretch began Jan. 30 and is currently scheduled to conclude Feb. 16.

∫ Familiar foes: The Islanders will play the same opponent in consecutive games 19 times this season.

∫ Iron men: The Islanders have four players (Barzal, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock) with streaks of at least 200 games played.

Blue Jackets 3, Hurricanes 2

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jack Roslovic scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period, Joonas Korpisalo had 22 saves and Columbus beat Carolina to split a back-to-back series.

Scott Harrington and Cam Atkinson also scored for the Blue Jackets, who got their second win in three games.

With the score tied 2-2, Roslovic split two defenders and beat Alex Nedeljkovic with a backhand with 4:36 left for what was the prettiest goal in an evening that included some unusual ones.

Nino Niederreiter and Brock McGinn scored, and Alex Nedeljkovic had 19 stops in his first start of the season as the Hurricanes lost for the third time in 10 games.

Maple Leafs 3, Canucks 1

TORONTO — Auston Matthews and Alexander Kerfoot scored in an 11-second span in the third period and Toronto beat Vancouver.

Morgan Rielly also scored for Toronto. Frederik Andersen made 31 saves as the Maple Leafs completed a three-game sweep of struggling Vancouver.

Elias Pettersson scored for Vancouver (6-10-0), which lost in regulation for the fifth straight game and closed out its road trip 1-5-0. Braden Holtby stopped 16 shots for the Canucks.

Oilers 3, Senators 1

OTTAWA, Ontario — Tyler Ennis scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and goaltender Mike Smith made 27 saves in his season debut as Edmonton beat Ottawa.

Josh Archibald scored into the empty net with 1:10 remaining after Connor McDavid won the puck in his own end. The assist extended McDavid’s points streak to 10 games.

Leon Draisaitl also scored for Edmonton. Evgenii Dadonov scored for Ottawa.

Lightning 4, Predators 1

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Anthony Cirelli scored two goals for Tampa Bay, and the Lightning beat Nashville for its fifth straight victory.

The defending Stanley Cup champs extended the NHL’s longest winning streak even with goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy getting his first night off this season. Curtis McElhinney made 22 saves.

Blake Coleman and Steven Stamkos each had empty-net goals in the final 98 seconds.

Nashville’s Dante Fabbro scored his first goal of the season on the man advantage at 11:08 of the third. Only a strong performance by goalie Pekka Rinne kept the Predators in the game with the Lightning outshooting them 35-23.

Coyotes 4, Blues 3, SO

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Clayton Keller scored the tying goal with seven-tenths of a second remaining in regulation and Christian Dvorak’s shootout goal was the winner, leading Arizona to a win over St. Louis.

Conor Garland and Dvorak scored in regulation, and Darcy Kuemper made 39 saves as Arizona has won its third consecutive game over the Blues in St. Louis.

Ryan O’Reilly scored twice and David Perron added a goal for St. Louis. Jordan Binnington made 23 saves. The Blues lost three straight games for the first time this season.

By Paul Wager