Barry Trotz declined to give his opinion on how goaltender Semyon Varlamov had performed after the Islanders’ 5-4 loss to the Penguins on Thursday night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series. The coach said he wanted to look over the tape before making any conclusions.
After doing so, Trotz was noticeably underwhelmed with his No. 1 netminder, who allowed a goal within the first 3 ½ minutes of the game for the second outing in a row.
“Well, I wish we could’ve gotten another save or two,” Trotz said. “Or maybe it was just one short again. They’re tough, lot of traffic, those type of things, but it just wasn’t his night.”
Varlamov, who has been the starting goalie throughout the season, made 22 saves on 27 shots for a .815 save percentage in the loss.
Asked how much of Varlamov’s play Thursday night would be considered when deciding on the starter for Game 4, Trotz said “a big portion, for sure.”
Considering how much Trotz emphasized that four goals should’ve won the Islanders the game, it wouldn’t be shocking if he opted to go with rookie Ilya Sorokin. But Varlamov has owned the goal throughout the regular season, when he finished in a tie for the league lead in shutouts (7).
“One thing about Varly is he’s as good a pro as you’re ever going to find,” Trotz said. “We had this last year, even in the series against Philadelphia, I think we were up 3-1 and they got the last couple games. And then it came to Game 7 and we gave it to [Thomas] Greiss. Then we put Varly back in and he was fine. He was great against Tampa [Bay]. He responds really well in terms of getting back into his zone.”
*There was some confusion over why Sidney Crosby was the first one out of the Penguins’ penalty box after being sent off for the scrum that broke out early in the third period Thursday.
Considering Crosby had a hand in the play that led to Jeff Carters’ power-play goal, which gave Pittsburgh a 4-3 lead, many questioned if he should’ve still been in the box. But the reasoning for Crosby being the first out is outlined in the NHL rulebook.
Five skaters from each team were sent to the penalty box with roughing minors, but Penguins forward Jake Guentzel picked up an extra minor for slashing Kyle Palmieri. Anthony Beauvillier then scored the power-play goal to knot the game at 3-3. Many thought Guentzel would be out of the box first because he was the one with the extra minor, but since all of the penalties occurred at the same time, they were set to expire at the same time.
So Crosby, as captain, got to decide which penalty ended first and he evidently chose his own roughing minor.
Evgeni Malkin joined the fray in Game 3, registering the assist on Carter’s power-play goal in the third period that gave the Penguins a 4-3 lead. He also earned the secondary assist on Jason Zucker’s 3-1 score late in the second.
“He’s definitely a guy you want to key on in certain situations, the power play and obviously through the middle,” Jordan Eberle said Friday. “He’s got a lot of speed and talent. So you want to finish your checks on him and make him uncomfortable.”
The NHL announced that Game 5 of the Islanders-Penguins series Monday night in Pittsburgh will be a 7 p.m. faceoff.
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