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Islanders' Semyon Varlamov is 40 scoreless seconds away from breaking Billy Smith's team playoff record

Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov prior to Game One

Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov prior to Game One of the Eastern Conference second round against the Philadelphia Flyers at Scotiabank Arena on Aug. 24, 2020 in Toronto. Credit: Getty Images/Elsa

Hall of Fame-goalie Billy Smith won four Stanley Cups with the Islanders and backstopped the team to five straight appearances in the Cup Final. Dislodging him from the team’s record book is significant.

That’s something Semyon Varlamov can do within the opening minute of Wednesday afternoon’s Game 2 of the Islanders’ second-round series against the Flyers at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. His playoff streak of 136:20 scoreless -- after a 29-save performance in Monday’s 4-0 win in Game 1 -- puts him within 39 seconds of Smith’s team record set in 1980.

“He’s a backbone for us,” Islanders center Brock Nelson said. “Lately, he’s been on it, making big saves, timely saves, that can win you a game at this time of the year.”

Varlamov (8-2, 1.50 goals-against average, .941 save percentage) has started all 10 postseason games.

“Any time you have your goaltender playing well, it gives your team confidence and they’ve played pretty well in front of him,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “It’s not necessarily the numbers, it’s do you make the save at the key time?”

The Islanders are also 46:31 shy of setting the team record for their longest playoff shutout stretch, set in 1979 with Smith and Chico Resch sharing the net.

All’s fine

Trotz said he had no concerns about the availability of either top-pair defenseman Adam Pelech or fourth-line right wing Cal Clutterbuck for Game 2. Both went to the Islanders’ bench in pain at different points during Game 1, but both played through the third period.

“Both finished fine,” Trotz said. “I saw them walking around today so they should be good.”

Pelech returned for two more shifts after appearing to hurt his ankle at 12:10 of the third period. Clutterbuck appeared to be in pain twice, once after blocking a shot with his skate and then after a collision.

Only the Islanders’ extras skated on Tuesday.

New York Sports