The New York Islanders are off to a hot start in the NHL’s reboot as they have gone up two games to none on the Florida Panthers.
The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs are unlike any we have ever seen. Due to the 2019-20 NHL Season being cut short because of COVID-19, the NHL decided to expand the playoffs to 24-teams, adding in what is called the qualifying round.
The qualifying round is a best-of-five series to determine who gets to move onto what is typically the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As the seventh seed, the New York Islanders‘ opponent in the qualifying round has been the Florida Panthers.
Against the Panthers, the Islanders got off to a rough start in game one as they didn’t play their best game but still managed to come away with the 2-1 win, thanks to the goalkeeping of Semyon Varlamov who collected 27 saves on 28 shots.
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In game two, Varlamov got a little more help from the rest of his team as the Islanders scored four times, two of them coming on powerplays. In game one, one of the things the Islanders struggled with was taking advantage of the man advantage as they had four powerplays and scored on only one of them.
In game two they had eight powerplay opportunities and scored on two of them, the same percentage overall, but still one extra goal.
Nonetheless, the Islanders came away with the win after goals from Matt Martin, Ryan Pulock, and two from Jordan Eberle. Semyon Varlamov was once again impressive as he collected 26 saves on 28 shots and continues to help the Islanders win games.
With their game two win, the Islanders gained a 2-0 series lead on the Panthers, and move within one game of moving onto the first round of the NHL Playoffs. This would be only the third playoff series win by the Islanders since 1993.