Islanders’ 3 Stars of the Week: Oct. 27-Nov. 3

Despite only playing two games last week, the New York Islanders earned four points with their two wins in regulation. They started the week with four consecutive days off before facing the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Buffalo Sabres. 

On Friday night at home, they scored five goals for the second consecutive game in a 5-2 win. The Islanders then scored one early first-period goal against the Sabres on Saturday in a 1-0 victory. With those two victories, they extended their season-long winning streak to nine games which ranks tied for second in franchise history.

As they continue to be one of the biggest stories in the NHL this season, we take a look back at the three stars this past week. 

Third Star: Thomas Greiss

As the Islanders have done all season, they have rotated both Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov in net every game. On Friday against Tampa Bay, it was Greiss’ turn to start, and he continued his phenomenal season allowing just two goals on 35 shots. It was his fifth win in six games, as he ranks in the top ten in goals-against average at 2.15 and save percentage at .933

Thomas Greiss
Thomas Greiss (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Greiss held the Lighting scoreless until just past the midway point of the second period. Tampa Bay scored one more time in the final two minutes, but the night will be remembered for Greiss’ incredible job during the penalty kill. He stopped all eight shots on the Lightning power play, as the Islanders penalty kill continues their strong run into the month of November.

Greiss will be an unrestricted free agent when the season comes to an end. He showing why he is worthy of a long-term contract even if it’s not with the Islanders. However, other than one poor season on Long Island, Greiss carried the Islanders to a playoff series victory in 2016 and has been one of the top goalies each of the past two seasons. 

Second Star: Semyon Varlamov

Playing one night later, Varlamov was given the start Saturday in Buffalo and stopped 27 shots for his first career shutout with the Islanders. He now has 26 clean sheets in his career and is off to one of his best starts ever. 

Like Greiss, Varlamov is in the top 10 in both SV% and GAA. He ranks one spot ahead of his partner in GAA, allowing 2.14 goals per game, and is three spots behind in SV% at .929

Before coming over to the Islanders from Colorado, Varlamov struggled in each of the past few seasons but seems to have settled in with director of goaltending, Mitch Korn, who had success with Robin Lehner last season. If both Varlamov and Greiss continue their run in net, they could possibly win the William M. Jennings Trophy, as Lehner and Greiss were able to do that last year for allowing the fewest goals.

First Star:  Derick Brassard

The Islanders brought in Brassard to fill a void left behind from Valtteri Filppula. After the veteran signed with Detroit, Brassard was brought in to have a similar year to what Filppula had in 2018-19.

Despite not scoring in his first eight games, Brassard has scored in each of his last five games including the empty-net goal against the Lightning as well as the only goal against the Sabres. 

Brassard currently ranks tied for second on the team in goals with five along with Josh Bailey, Mat Barzal and Anders Lee. He has had success playing on the wing with Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson despite starting the season at center.

Up next

The Islanders have had another break of consecutive days off and will host the Ottawa Senators this Tuesday night at the Barclays Center for the first game in Brooklyn this season. With the Islanders in the process of building a brand-new arena, the team is once again playing in two arenas for the second consecutive season. 

Following that, the Islanders will continue their homestand with games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs.