The shots were plentiful, just like last game. This time, though, the Islanders created plenty of traffic at the crease.
And it made all the difference as they snapped a two-game losing streak with a 3-0 win over Chicago at UBS Arena on Sunday.
“I thought we did a really good job of that,” coach Lane Lambert said. “We emphasized it the last day and a half.”
The Islanders (16-10-0) scored all three goals in less than seven minutes in the second period. Semyon Varlamov made 21 saves for his first shutout and the team’s third this season.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the first one or No. 10, it always feels great for a goalie to get a shutout,” said Varlamov, who has won four of his last five decisions and blanked Chicago for the fourth time in his career.
Arvid Soderblom stopped 37 shots for Chicago (7-13-4), which has the second-fewest points in the NHL. Chicago had snapped an eight-game losing streak (0-7-1) on Saturday with a 5-2 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The Islanders, who have won five of their last seven games and 14 of their last 20, were coming off a 4-1 loss to the visiting Predators on Friday night in which they took a season-high 49 shots but didn’t get nearly enough traffic in front of goalie Kevin Lankinen.
“Maybe both,” Brock Nelson said when asked if it was more mindset or X’s-and-O’s that allowed the Islanders to create more traffic. “It just depends on different plays and how they shake out. If you’re able to get some movement down low and then get it up top, it’s mindset. And then maybe strategy moving guys to different spots and getting guys to the net.”
Nelson made it 3-0 with a one-timer off Anthony Beauvillier’s feed on the rush — Beauvillier’s 200th career point — just 43 seconds after Zach Parise, at the left post, deflected in defenseman Adam Pelech’s feed from the left wall at 14:31.
The Islanders’ second-period goal outburst got off to a delayed start.
Matt Martin snuck the puck past Soderblom’s right pad and just inside the near post as he was knocked down at the crease by defenseman Filip Roos at 8:58. But that was not immediately called a goal — leaving Martin to head to the bench asking the referees why not — and was not verified until a video review during a stoppage more than two minutes of playing time later.
“When I was on the ice, I could see it, I was pretty confident it was in,” he said. “I came to the bench and said it was in.”
There was some early spillover from the Islanders’ 3-1 win in Chicago on Nov. 1, a game in which Casey Cizikas collided with goalie Alex Stalock. Stalock remains on injured reserve with a concussion. Reese Johnson engaged Cizikas in an energetic fight at 2:11 of the first period on Sunday.
Varlamov made his toughest saves in the first period, stopping Philipp Kurashev in the slot at 3:42, then getting his right pad on Kurashev’s next chance at 7:36.
Notes & quotes: RW Hudson Fasching, 27, logged 13:04 with two shots and was on the ice for Martin’s goal in his Islanders debut . . . D Robin Salo was recalled from the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport . . . RW Kyle Palmieri (IR, upper body), who has not resumed skating, and RW Cal Clutterbuck (upper body) remained out . . . Lou Lamoriello served his 2,700th NHL game as a general manager, tying Glen Sather for second behind David Poile (3,016).