Of course Semyon Varlamov was happy the Islanders beat the Penguins, 4-3, on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum. But Varlamov also did not hide his pleasure at reaching the 500-game milestone in the NHL, becoming the 76th goalie to do it and the 14th active one.
"I’m excited, of course, about the win," said Varlamov, who made three point-blank saves on Sidney Crosby in the second period. "But I’m also really happy about 500 games. I was looking forward to playing this game. It’s a big achievement for me and my family. I want to say thank you to all the coaches and all the staff who have been part of those 500 games."
Varlamov, 32, in his second season with the Islanders, broke into the NHL with the Capitals in 2008 before eight seasons with the Avalanche.
"He brings trust to the group," coach Barry Trotz said. "He brings consistency to the group. When you don’t have that trust in your goaltender, you don’t play the same way. You’re a little hesitant. You’re not as aggressive. Every mistake ends up in the back of your net. That’s how you feel."
Trotz is trying to develop that trust with highly touted Russian rookie Ilya Sorokin as well. Sorokin has started three games and Trotz said the shifting schedule and lack of preseason games has hindered his ability to find the five-time KHL All-Star more playing time.
Trotz earned his 849th career win, tying Ken Hitchcock for third place on the NHL coaches’ list . . . Jordan Eberle took a team-high seven shots . . . The Islanders are 3-0-0 at the Coliseum . . . Anthony Beauvillier (injured reserve/lower body) missed his fifth game and won’t be ready for the Rangers game Monday.
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