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Semyon Varlamov's celebratory slide after Islanders' Game 5 win no surprise to Barry Trotz

Jordan Eberle of the Islanders is congratulated by

Jordan Eberle of the Islanders is congratulated by his teammates as Semyon Varlamov dives toward the team after scoring the game-winning goal against the Lightning during the second overtime period to win Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on Tuesday in Edmonton, Alberta. Credit: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett

Turns out, that happy, headfirst slide by Semyon Varlamov into the pile of teammates celebrating Jordan Eberle’s winning goal in Tuesday night’s 2-1 double overtime victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning was not out of character for the 32-year-old goalie.

"That's a man showing emotion,’’ Islanders coach Barry Trotz said on Wednesday. "He loves to laugh, he loves to smile, loves to have fun. [There is] time to play and the time to work. He has those in really good order. And it's not a surprise that he'd do something like that at all.’’

Varlamov (11-6, 2.17 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, two shutouts) will try to help the Islanders stave off elimination for a second straight time in Thursday night’s Game 6 at Rogers Place in Edmonton after making 36 saves on Tuesday.

Varlamov, typically fairly stoic in his public persona, said after the game, "I just jumped because I was so excited for us.’’

Trotz had already left the bench and didn’t see the dive live but it was replayed frequently after the game.

"I love the human element of the game," Trotz said. "You get a chance to make some moments that you’ll remember for a long, long time."

Once an Islander…

Captain Anders Lee and defenseman Devon Toews both smiled when asked about former teammate Robin Lehner saying via Twitter he wanted to hear "YES YES YES" on television while predicting an Islanders’ win on Tuesday. The goalie’s season ended when Vegas was eliminated on Monday.

"We loved Lehnny when he was here and he was a big part of that team last year," Toews said. "It just shows the community we have in our locker room and in our organization. Even if you leave, you create lifelong friendships. We wish Lehnny all the best, we miss him and we appreciate his support."

New York Sports